The recent completion of HMAS Canberra's maintenance is the first time an operation on such a scale had been performed in Australia.
Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group’s Head Maritime Systems Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm said successful completion of the maintenance period at Fleet Base East in Sydney was testament to the collaboration between Defence and Australian industry.
Rear Admiral Malcolm said the maintenance period of the landing helicopter dock (LHD), undertaken at the Captain Cook Graving Dock, was a challenging undertaking.
“This task was particularly complicated, not just because of the sheer size and weight of the equipment, but also because this has never been undertaken in Australia, and all while in a COVID-19 environment,” Rear Admiral Malcolm said.
“HMAS Canberra had her two pods and associated propellers replaced and returns to Navy service in great shape with some much improved capabilities.
"The magnitude of this undertaking exemplifies the commitment of so many people, including Prime contractor NSM and our own Amphibious Combat and Sealift Enterprise," she said.
Rear Admiral Malcolm said the pod replacement entailed intrusive internal work and significant preservation activities, but also required a large number of support structures and accessories, which were designed and constructed locally, in order to complete the installation.
“The Australianisation of the supply chain and upskilling of the local Siemens technicians has also been a real highlight of the project, underscoring our commitment to a sovereign shipbuilding and sustainment industry,” Rear Admiral Malcolm said.
“A naval maintenance operation of this scale has never before been undertaken in this country’s history, from the design and manufacture of a range of supporting equipment, the complicated logistics of delivering the huge pods and propellers and, finally, to a suite of engineering and sustainment challenges involved with conducting a task of such large proportions.”
After the completion of the pod installation, Canberra is now preparing for sea trials, where the new pod and propellers will be put through their paces.
Meanwhile, the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise is already planning for Navy’s second LHD, HMAS Adelaide, to enter the dock to begin the same maintenance activity.