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Amphibious Assault Ships set to revolutionise RAN

The Canberra Landing Helicopter Dock will serve as a mobile operating base for Australia's armed forces."

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will soon receive an extremely capable multi-role jet in the form of the F-35A Lightning II, but what upgrades will the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) see in the near future?

A new ship is on the way, one which, like the F-35 will bring a number of new possibilities for defence and humanitarian work.

Once they've been completed, Australia will have access to new sea power in the form of the Canberra Class Amphibious Assault Ships (LHDs) - the largest vessels ever constructed in Australia.

Mobile bases

Unlike destroyers or resupply ships, these vessels are capable of transporting helicopters, land vehicles, troops and even seacraft. Essentially, they're mobile bases.

Weighing over 27,000 tonnes, these ships can land over 1,000 personnel. What's more, these ships also transport all required ammunition, vehicles and stores. Over the next few years, once they've become fully operational, these vessels will be able to transit to any area in the world (whether as part of defence or humanitarian work) and fully support ground troops.

"The LHD has been designed with the shallowest possible draft to allow her to operate in secondary ports and harbours as well as manoeuvre tactically in the shallow waters common in the littoral regions," the RAN explained.

"[They] will provide the Australian Defence Force with one of the most capable and sophisticated air-land-sea amphibious deployment systems in the world."

Supporting helicopters

One of the key operational benefits of these vessels over other ships in the RAN fleet is the ability to support helicopters without the need for a land base.

Currently, Australian vessels have landing pads for one helicopter, but this isn't feasible for extended duration missions. With the LHD, this is no longer an issue. Given an ongoing supply of fuel, these vessels can keep running helicopters overseas for as long as required.

A history of performance

These ships aren't as large as the aircraft carriers used by the US, but neither are they the first of their kind. Other amphibious assault ships have been in use by countries for decades, including the US.

In fact, the US currently operates the Wasp class Multiple Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship as well as the General Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship.

Interconnect Systems has a comprehensive background in aerospace and defence engineering, being an industry leader for more than 20 years. It provides electrical interconnect products and solutions, including cable and wire harness manufacture.

For more information on the best backshells and cable harness solutions, contact Interconnect Systems today on 1800 812 214.

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