The Navy’s two Canberra class landing helicopter dock (LHD) vessels have achieved the final operational capability (FOC) milestone.
Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds said on November 12 that HMASs Canberra and Adelaide were now fully 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,” she said in a statement.
Navy Chief VADM Michael Noonan said the Navy was closer to achieving a resilient, sustained and integrated force as outlined in the Plan Pelorus strategy for 2022.
“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,” he said.
The 230-metre long, 27,500 tonne Canberra class are the Navy’s largest ever vessels, providing the ADF with a capability for amphibious operations which has not existed since the end of World War 2.
Each ship has the ability to transport more than 1,000 troops and 110 vehicles, and to support six helicopters and four amphibious landing craft.
Plan Pelorus sets out the Navy’s vision as a service fully ready to conduct sustained combat operations as part of the joint force by 2022. That means a full workforce, with vessels fully crewed at sea and staffed ashore, able to train for future demand, and prepared for continued growth.
Measures designed to attract and retain personnel appear to be working, with the government announcing last week that Navy had grown by more than 1,000 in two years.