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www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS September 12, 2013
AS NUSHIP Canberra's person-
nel move closer to bringing
Navy's first LHD into service, a
massive amount of preparation is
This ranges from the development of
standard operating procedures and poli-
cies, to ship-specific training involving the
incorporation of an amphibious and flight
capability that has never been seen before
in the ADF.
As part of this preparation, 20
Canberra personnel recently travelled
to Spain and embarked in ESPS Juan
Carlos I to gain experience in operating a
ship of the same class.
Personnel were selected from all
departments to ensure every aspect of the
LHD's operation could be observed.
CO Canberra CAPT Jonathan Sadleir
said the experience was invaluable.
"The introduction of this class of ship
into the ADF will dramatically change the
way we do business," he said.
"Being a brand new class of ship for
our Navy, this was a unique opportunity
for us to observe the way the Spanish
operate this type of capability."
While each Defence Force operates
according to their own doctrine, sea rid-
ing in Juan Carlos I gave the Canberra
personnel a close insight into how the
major elements of the ship, including the
embarked forces, aircraft and landing
craft, operated together.
During the visit, personnel took every
opportunity to discuss, and in some cases
test, draft RAN LHD standard operating
procedures with their Spanish counter-
This process was made all the more
meaningful by being on board the plat-
form itself and, most importantly, under-
way at sea during an amphibious exercise.
The crew observed Exercise Marfibex,
a five-day low level non-combatant evacu-
ation operation that involved the Spanish
amphibious task group consisting of the
LHD, two LPDs, an FFG escort and more
than 800 Spanish marines.
Conducted within the Armada training
areas south of Cadiz, it was an impressive
sight to observe the landing and recovery
of the embarked forces via watercraft and
A searide in a Spanish LHD gave a group of
personnel from NUSHIP Canberra a look at what's
to come, LEUT Emily Kennedy reports.
WHAT THEY SAID
"It was impressive to observe
the level of coordination required
between FLYCO and flight deck
personnel in order to manage the
large number of aircraft move-
-- LEUT Matt Schroder
"Observing the engineering plant
while underway was extremely
beneficial. Until you see all of the
systems running together, you
don't fully appreciate the complex-
ity of such a large platform."
-- CPOMT James Dew
"Commissioning this world-class
warship with its immense capability
is one of the best and most exciting
things I have been involved with.
The trip to Juan Carlos I cemented
this perception and I'm very much
looking forward to commissioning
and serving in Canberra."
-- CPO Chris Swift
"Observing the platform operate
was a great experience. As a Navy
and Defence Force we have a sig-
nificant challenge ahead of us, but
it is a great challenge to have."
-- LCDR Matt Ryan
"The experience was invaluable. To
be able to see docking operations
with the LCM1Es and observe the
management of concurrent whole-
ship operations enforces the chal-
lenges that lay ahead for the crew."
-- LCDR Michael Nipperess
"The use of azipods will witness
a new era of ship handling for the
RAN and the development of a new
skill set for our seaman officers. The
manoeuvrability is impressive for
such a large ship."
-- LCDR Calvin Johnson
helicopter, with close air support provided
by the embarked AV-8 Harriers.
With the ship's company, a full
air wing and several hundred marines
embarked, along with midshipman sea-
riders from the Spanish Naval Academy
undertaking a training cruise, there were
well over 1000 people on board the ship.
This allowed Canberra's personnel
to view all manner of evolutions ranging
from slipping and close-quarter manoeu-
vring in harbour using the LHD azipod
system, through to observing the move-
ment and securing of vehicles onto landing
craft in the dock.
Of equal importance was the need to
observe the more mundane routines that
support higher-end activities, such as the
operation of the garbage compactor -- 1000
people make a lot of rubbish.
In summing up how the visit to Spain
went, XO Canberra CMDR Jon Earley said
the Spanish crew was extremely accommo-
dating in allowing maximum access to all
parts of the ship.
"Their honest and frank discussions
with us about how they operated their
LHD were greatly appreciated and no
question was left unanswered," he said.
"We have indeed learned a substantial
amount about our new ship that will cer-
tainly help inform the development of our
routines and processes."
NEW FRIENDS: The NUSHIP Canberra seariding team with members from ESPS Juan Carlos I stand
in front of the "Island" -- the superstructure above the flight deck.
Photos: CMDR Paul Moggach
ESPS Juan Carlos I's
embarked Hughes 500
and Bell 212 on the flight
deck off the coast of
Cape Trafalgar in south-
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