HMAS Canberra (III)

HMAS Canberra was commissioned at an official ceremony at Fleet Base East, Sydney on 28 November 2014. In March 2015, HMAS Canberra was formally designated the flagship of the Royal Australian Navy.

Built by BAE Systems Australia and Navantia, the LHDs are the largest ships ever constructed for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The ships provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with one of the most capable and sophisticated air-land-sea amphibious deployment systems in the world.

The ship's roles are to:

  • embark, transport and deploy an embarked force (Army in the case of the ADF but could equally be an allied Army or Marines), along with their equipment and aviation units
  • carry out/support humanitarian missions.

Canberra is 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 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.

The ships have a conventional steel monohull design with the superstructure located on the starboard side of the flight deck. The ships have the shallowest possible draft to allow operation in secondary ports and harbours, and in the shallow waters common in coastal regions.

There are four main decks:

  • heavy vehicle
  • accommodation
  • hangar and light vehicles
  • flight deck.

The flight deck has been configured with six spots on the port side for medium sized aircraft such as the MRH-90 or Blackhawk, which allows for simultaneous take-off and landing operations; alternatively it can support simultaneous take-off and landing operations of four CH-47 Chinooks.

There are two aircraft elevators that can accommodate medium sized helicopters, with one able to accommodate larger helicopters such as CH 47. Both aircraft elevators service the hangar and light vehicle/cargo deck and the fwd elevator is dual roled for stores and personnel.

Between the flight deck and the accommodation deck is a contiguous hangar and light vehicle deck; the hanger (990m2) occupying the after section of the deck while the light vehicle deck (1880m2) is located on the forward section of the deck. The hanger can accommodate up to 8 medium sized helicopters with 18 medium sized helicopters able to be accommodated if the light vehicle deck is also used.

The command and control (C2) and combat systems consist of:

  • combat management system
  • extensive ICT infrastructure
  • 3D air search radar, helicopter control and surface radar, and navigation radar
  • identification friend or foe (IFF) capability
  • electronic support measures (ESM)/electronic countermeasures (ECM) suite
  • integrated communications system
  • electro-optical and IR surveillance systems.

The LHD will be fitted with a number of defensive systems including:

  • Anti-Torpedo Towed Defense System (Nixie)
  • Four 20 mm automated guns
  • 6 x 12.7 mm machine guns
  • Active missile decoy system - Nulka (weight and space reserve)
Commanding Officer Captain Brendan O’Hara
Class Canberra Class
Type Amphibious Assault Ship (LHD)
Pennant L02
International callsign VKCN
Motto For Queen and Country
Home port Fleet Base East
Builder BAE Systems Australia and Navantia
Laid down 23 September 2009
Launched 17 February 2011
Commissioned by Mrs Vicki Coates
Commissioned 28 November 2014
Displacement 27,800 tonnes (unloaded and not docked down)
  • 230.8 metres (overall)
  • 207.2 metres (waterline)
  • 32 metres
  • 29.5 metres (at waterline)
  • 7.18 metres (full load)
  • 10 metres (docked down)
Flight deck
  • 202.3 metres (length)
  • 32 metres (width)
  • 4750 square metres (area)
  • 27.5 metres (height)
  • 20+ knots (maximum)
  • 19 knots (sustained maximum at full-load)
  • 15 knots (economic cruising)
  • up to 8 knots (reversing speed with full directional control)
  • 6000 nautical miles (at 20 knots)
  • 9000 nautical miles (at 15 knots)
Crew 358 (293 RAN, 62 Army, 3 RAAF)
Embarked forces 1046
  • 4 x LCM-1E landing craft
  • 110 vehicles
  • 12 Abrams main battle tanks
  • 4 x Typhoon stabilised weapon systems with 25mm M242 Bushmaster chaingun
  • Coaxially mounted M240 7.62mm machine gun
Physical countermeasures
  • SLQ-25C towed torpedo decoy
  • 4 BAE Nulka decoy launchers
Helicopters 18 helicopters with 6 operating simultaneously from the flight deck
HMAS Canberra (III) badge


Amphibious assault ship/boat