Royal Australian Navy (RAN) HMAS Canberra and embarked forces returned to Australia after successfully completing Regional Presence Deployment 2020. The Australian Defence Force has embarked on a regional deployment to conduct exercises within Southeast Asia and Hawaii over the coming months. The deployment demonstrates Australia’s commitment to sustaining strong and positive defence relationships with regional nations as well as the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region. HMAS Canberra is the lead ship of the two ship Canberra Class Amphibious Assault Ships otherwise known as a Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD). Based on the Buque de Proyección Estratégica (Strategic Projection Ship) design by Spanish shipbuilders Navantia.
At 27,000 tonnes, the LHDs are the largest ships ever constructed for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and are being built by contractors BAE Systems Australia and Navantia. The ships will provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with one of the most capable and sophisticated air-land-sea amphibious deployment systems in the world. Canberra is the third ship to bear the name after the Kent Class heavy cruiser and Adelaide Class guided missile frigate. Contractor sea trials commenced in February 2014 and were completed in September 2014. The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) accepted NUSHIP Canberra from BAE Systems in October 2014 and she sailed to her home port at Fleet Base East, Garden Island, Sydney later that month.
Canberra will be able to conduct amphibious operations and land a force of over 1000 embarked personnel along with all their weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores by LCM-1E landing craft, helicopters or a combination of both. Canberra is capable of conducting large-scale humanitarian and disaster relief missions. The medical facility is of a size and scope of which would rival some regional hospitals equipped with two operating theatres, an eight bed Critical Care Unit, and a variety of low and medium dependency beds. In addition, the medical facility has dedicated areas to accommodate pathology and radiology services, x-ray, pharmacy and dental facilities.