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Australian Navy's largest warships HMAS Adelaide and Canberra achieve new milestone

The Royal Australian Navy now has one of the most capable and sophisticated amphibious deployment systems in the world, with the Fleet’s Landing Helicopter Docks achieving final operational capability.

Australian Navys largest warships NUSHIP Sydney achieve new milestone 925 002 HMA Ships Adelaide and Canberra (Picture source: Australian Ministry of Defense)

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said HMA Ships Adelaide and Canberra are ready to be deployed on amphibious operations such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and amphibious warfare.

“The Australian Defence Force’s amphibious capability is an integral part of Australia’s strategic posture and this milestone is another step in Navy’s roadmap to delivering amphibious excellence,” Minister Reynolds said.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan AO, RAN, said Navy is closer to achieving a resilient, sustained and integrated Navy supported by our workforce, as outlined in the Plan Pelorus strategy for 2022. Plan Pelorus provides direction to the Navy for the next four years to achieve our Headmark. It will be revised regularly to enable delivery on our five outcomes.

Navy has a crucial role to play to support our government and we must continue to evolve and prepare for a myriad of operational possibilities. This is the basis of our 2022 Headmark. Clarity and alignment in our understanding of our Headmark will effectively guide our day-to-day actions.

“As we transition to a more technologically advanced Navy, our goal is to be capable of conducting sustained combat operations as part of a Joint Force,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

At 230 metres long and with a speed in excess of 20 knots, the 27,500-tonne LHDs are highly reliable and effective ships with capabilities which include six helicopter positions and four integral ship-to-shore connectors, which are able to carry all of Army’s in-service vehicles, including the M1A1 main battle tank.

Each ship is fitted with a Saab 9LV Mark 4 combat management system. The sensor suite includes a Sea Giraffe 3D surveillance radar and a Vampir NG infrared search and track system. For self-defence, the LHDs are fitted with four Rafael Typhoon 25 mm remote weapons systems six 12.7 mm machine guns, AN/SLQ-25 Nixie towed torpedo decoy and a Nulka missile decoy. Planned upgrades include the installation of up to three Phalanx CIWS from 2018. Defence against aircraft and larger targets is to be provided by escort vessels and air support from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).