Australia's biggest warship ready to sail
On the eve of it's maiden voyage take a tour of Australia's biggest warship the HMAS Canberra, filmed during construction in 2013.PT1M28S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-36b9m 620 349 April 9, 2014
It's the biggest warship the Royal Australian Navy has ever had. And the HMAS Canberra Landing Helicopter Dock is nearly ready to put to sea.
The 230-metre long, 27,000-tonne amphibious assault ship is being put through its paces in Sydney Harbour by builder BAE Systems and the ship’s new crew, led by inaugural commanding officer, Captain Jonathan Sadleir.
"The builders are on board, making sure everything is in good working order. And we have navy ship’s personnel standing beside them to learn the ropes as it goes," a Defence spokesman said.
Biggest warship ever: The HMAS Canberra is getting ready to launch. Photo: Christian Pearson
"She’ll then go down and conduct sea trials around Victoria and Gippsland, after which there’ll be a handover to Defence some time in the third quarter."
The Canberra, one of two LHDs being built for the navy at a cost of about $3 billion, is bigger even than Australia’s last aircraft carrier, the HMAS Melbourne, which was retired in 1982.
Once commissioned in the second half of the year, she will carry up to 1600 soldiers, effectively marines who can be deployed to troublespots around the region, particularly for disaster relief and peacekeeping operations.
Massive flight deck: HMAS Canberra has the capacity to carry 16 helicopters. Photo: Christian Pearson
The massive flight deck, measuring more than 200 metres long and 32 metres across, can carry 16 helicopters, including Blackhawks, Chinooks and Tiger armed reconnaissance choppers.
The lower decks will be able to hold more than 100 trucks and other vehicles and up to a dozen Abrams battle tanks.
Four mechanised landing craft will be able to ferry the troops and their equipment to shore.
A new aspect for the navy is the Canberra’s pair of azimuth thrusters - propellers that can be rotated in any direction, meaning the ship doesn’t need a rudder.
It’s a new way of steering that makes the vessel far more manoeuvrable, but which hasn’t been used by the navy before.
Though it will be based at Garden Island, the Canberra will spend much of its time up at Townsville, where the 2nd Battalion Royal Australian regiment will provide the Army manpower.