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Australia flexes Canberra class’ amphibious capabilities with first-ever M1A1 embark

28 July 2019
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An LCM-1E landing craft embarked with an Australian Army M1A1 main battle tank, leaving the well dock of HMAS Canberra. Source: Chief of Navy Australia

Key Points

  • A Royal Australian Navy’s Canberra-class amphibious ship has embarked an M1A1 main battle tank for the first time
  • The operation was conducted as Australia inches closer towards attaining final operational capability

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has conducted the first-ever embark of an Australian Army M1A1 main battle tank (MBT) onboard its Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) vessel.

Images and information released via the official social media account of the RAN’s chief, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, indicate that the embark was carried out on HMAS Canberra (L 02) on 25 July.

As part of the operation, an M1A1 tank was transported from Canberra to the beach via an LCM-1E mechanised landing craft bearing the pennant number L4408. “Our amphibious capability stands ready to defend Australia and our national interests”, said Vice Adm Noonan in his post.

Canberra is one of two LHDs in service with the RAN, with the other being HMAS Adelaide (L 01). The ship has an overall length of 230 m, an overall beam of 32 m, and a hull draught of 7 m. Its flight deck is 202 m long and features six helicopter landing spots, but the vessel can accommodate up to 18 aircraft.

The vessel’s well dock is 69.3 m long and 16.8 m wide, and can accommodate up to four LCM-1E vessels, in addition to four rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), although the latter is typically carried only when mission requirements call for it.

The vessel can carry up to 150 land vehicles, including MBTs on two decks, and can embark up to 1046 troopers.

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