USS Canberra arrives in Sydney Harbour for historic commissioning

US Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Canberra .
US Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Canberra .

The future US Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Canberra has arrived in Sydney Harbour after transiting the Pacific on 18 July for its official commissioning at the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Base East, the service announced a day later.

Once commissioned on 22 July, Canberra will be first US Navy warship to be commissioned outside of the United States. The vessel is also second US Navy ship to bear the namesake of Canberra, according to the service.

“I can think of no better way to signify our enduring partnership with Australia than celebrating the newest US Navy warship named for Australia’s capital city, and commissioning her in Royal Australian Navy Fleet Base East surrounded by many of the Australian ships we have worked alongside for years,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro in an earlier statement.

Canberra is the 16th Independence-variant LCS to be commissioned by the US Navy and one of 19 vessels of its type being built by Australian shipyard Austal at its Austal USA subsidiary in Mobile, Alabama. Unlike the steel monohull Freedom-variant LCS built by Lockheed Martin in Marinette, Wisconsin, the Independence LCS adopts an aluminium trimaran hull form designed for shallow draught and stability to operate in inshore waters.

“Austal’s Alabama-based shipyard is currently contracted on 11 different vessel programs for the US Navy and Coast Guard, and it is a source of pride seeing this vessel visiting our home,” said Austal Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg. “Plus, its Australian and historical heritage makes it all the more special.”

In addition to its US orderbook, Austal is also constructing two vessel classes for the Australian government at its Henderson shipyards in Western Australia. These are the Evolved Cape Class Patrol Boat for the Royal Australian Navy and the Guardian Class Patrol Boats to be gifted to Pacific Island nations.

by Jr Ng