Australia — HMAS Choules passes first capability test

The Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy’s new amphibi­ous ship HMAS Choules has suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed its first major amphibi­ous train­ing tasks.

HMAS Choules
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge

Navy and Army have come togeth­er dur­ing the last three weeks for the amphibi­ous exer­cis­es SQUADEX and SEA LION

Exer­cise SQUADEX pro­vid­ed prac­tice for dri­vers of Army and Navy land­ing craft along with a vari­ety of vehi­cle types as they dri­ve on and off HMAS Choules. 

HMAS Choules is sig­nif­i­cant­ly larg­er than the amphibi­ous ships she replaced and gives the ADF new capa­bil­i­ties such as a float­ing dock. 

The inter­nal dock­ing facil­i­ty (or well dock) can be flood­ed to a depth of up to three metres so land­ing craft and the ship’s own land­ing barges actu­al­ly dri­ve inside the hull while the ship is at sea, tak­ing on their car­go of vehi­cles and peo­ple in safe and con­trolled conditions. 

Army Black­hawk heli­copter pilots from 5 Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment have also put the ship to the test, fly­ing con­stant sor­ties to con­firm their deck land­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions and prac­tice car­go and per­son­nel transfers. 

For exer­cise SEA LION, HMAS Choules was joined by the New Zealand amphibi­ous ship HMNZS Can­ter­bury, Aus­tralian Army per­son­nel from Townsville’s 3rd Brigade and plan­ning staff from all three ser­vices around Aus­tralia. This exer­cise focused on ensur­ing the ADF is pre­pared for a human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and dis­as­ter relief inci­dent in our region. 

HMAS Choules’ Com­mand­ing Offi­cer, Com­man­der John Cow­an, said Choules had the capac­i­ty to con­duct simul­ta­ne­ous land­ing craft and heli­copter oper­a­tions, day and night, to sup­port human­i­tar­i­an and dis­as­ter relief operations. 

“Using Choules’ well dock to move per­son­nel and equip­ment ashore allows a sig­nif­i­cant increase in the speed of trans­fer com­pared with the Navy’s pre­vi­ous Land­ing Plat­form Amphibi­ous ships,” Com­man­der Cow­an said. 

Choules has a crew of 158 offi­cers and sailors, includ­ing a per­ma­nent­ly embarked Ships Army Depart­ment of 22. The ship can accom­mo­date two large heli­copters, 150 light trucks and 350 troops. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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