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Army August 30, 2012
Preparing for LHDs
First of the big new amphibious ships makes its way to Australia
Setting sail: The first Australian Amphibious Assault Ship is secured aboard heavy-lift ship the Blue Marlin in
Spain for the journey to Australia.
MAJOR improvements in the ADF's
ability to conduct amphibious opera-
tions are drawing near as the first
Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD)
makes its way to Australia.
The ship, which will be commis-
sioned HMAS Canberra, left Spain
last week transported on the heavy
lift ship the Blue Marlin and is due to
arrive in Williamstown, Victoria in late
September or early October. The sec-
ond ship, to be commissioned HMAS
Adelaide, is expected in 2014.
Head Modernisation and Strategic
Planning -- Army Maj-Gen Jeffery
Sengelman said the two LHDs would
be the largest ships ever built for the
"These ships will increase our
ability to project force beyond any-
thing we've had in the past," he said.
"However, the LHDs are not an iso-
lated platform -- Joint Project 2048 is
also about delivering all the smaller
vessels and support systems we need
to get the most out of them.
"In Army we're investing a lot
of resources and effort, as part of
Plan Beersheba, into establishing the
Amphibious Ready Group.
"As these new ships come online
and are ready to set sail, we'll have
troops who are ready to embark and
conduct amphibious operations, in
particular short-notice humanitarian or
noncombatant evacuation operations."
The Canberra-Class LHDs are big-
ger than Australia's last aircraft car-
rier, HMAS Melbourne. When com-
pleted they will be more than 230m
long, 27.5m high and weigh about
Each ship can carry a combined
arms battle group of more than 1100
personnel, 100 armoured vehicles
and 12 helicopters and also features a
Twelve Landing Craft Medium
platforms designed to bridge the ship-
to-shore gap for the LHD are due to
be delivered from 2014 and will oper-
ate in support of existing landing craft
such as the Army's LCM-8s and the
Maj-Gen Sengelman said the first
LHD's initial crew would muster in
Sydney from January next year.
"Army is contributing 62 person-
nel to this crew alongside 292 sailors
and three Air Force personnel," he
"This initial crew will be engaged
in a range of activities to train and
prepare for acceptance trials through-
out next year."
The 2RAR-based amphibious bat-
tle group is also expected to begin
working with the new ship during the
Concepts for joint operations and
training requirements are being pro-
gressively developed under the lead
of Maj-Gen Rick Burr at HQ 1 Div's
Deployable Joint Force HQ.
Maj-Gen Sengelman said much of
the training and operating methodol-
ogy would draw on experience from
the US and UK militaries, but reflect
the specific Australian contingencies
in our primary operating environment.
"We're expecting a fully certified
Amphibious Ready Element will
be ready to embark from December
2014," he said.
"The fully realised capability will
allow us to rapidly assemble and
deploy forces and continually support
them without necessarily having land
bases in the area of operations."
Defence Minister Jason Clare
said after arrival in Australian waters,
the first LHD would be taken to the
Williamstown dockyard for consolida-
tion of the superstructure and instal-
lation of the combat, communications
and navigation systems, followed by
For more information go to the Joint
Amphibious Capability Implementation
Team website on the DRN at http://intranet.
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