In the wake of Exercise Talisman Saber, the ADF has announced the successful completion of trials to transport heavy Army vehicles from the Canberra class LHDs to shore using the amphibious LHD landing craft (LLC) vessels.
The trials involved the employment of M1A1 Abrams main battle tank and the M1-based M88A2 Hercules recovery vehicle, and the new 45M and HX77 heavy trucks currently being delivered under LAND 121 Phase 3B from HMAS Canberra. The trials were enabled by engine room modifications to the 12 LLCs which has increased their carrying capacity from 38 tonnes to more than 60 tonnes.
The upgrade included the design and installation of an additional watertight bulkhead in the engine room, and scale modelling and testing in various sea states at the Marine Research Institute of the Netherlands (MARIN). This provided the quantitative evidence and confidence needed to progress to the sea phase trials, which were led by the RAN Test and Evaluation Authority (RANTEA).
“The focus and professionalism of numerous people across Navy and Army has resulted in a significant capability enhancement for the Australian Defence Force and we look forward to building on this capability as we mature the Maritime Warfare Centre,” Director of the RANTEA, CAPT David Frost said in an article in Navy Daily.
HMAS Canberra’s Commanding Officer, CAPT Terry Morrison praised the expertise and collaborative approach adopted by the landing craft crews, dock teams and heavy vehicle operators to achieve this significant milestone. “I’m very proud of the skills on display from the Leading Seaman landing craft coxswains and their crews, who are adept in manoeuvring these large loads safely to the beach,” he added.