The program included integration of landing craft as well as trials for both the crew, ship and aviation systems. The Navy’s S70B Seahawk, Army’s S70A Blackhawk and the joint MRH-90 Taipan helicopters have now all been evaluated for operations from the Canberra class ships.
Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN, said the milestone meant that Canberra had successfully conducted the required training and evaluation to undertake specific Government directed operations.
“Canberra now has another two months of more complex joint collective training and exercises to integrate other elements of the Australian Defence Force amphibious capability,” VADM Barrett said.
“Certification of the Amphibious Ready Element later this year is the final tick to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support.
“I will then be able to declare the Initial Operating Capability for the Canberra class Amphibious Ships,” he said.
Canberra’s sister ship, NUSHIP Adelaide is expected to enter service later this year and will commence a similar program to Canberra, in early 2016. It is anticipated that Chief of Navy will be able to announce Final Operational Capability for the Canberra class in late 2017.
At that point, Australia will have a world class amphibious capability that can undertake the broad spectrum of operations from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, security and stability operations across the Indo-Pacific region, to defence of the nation.
The Royal Australian Navy’s Amphibious Ship HMAS Canberra off the north Queensland coast with 5 MRH 90 aircraft on deck and her four Landing Craft deployed.