USS Canberra (LCS 30) has arrived at the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Base East in Sydney for a one-of-a-kind commissioning later this week.
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The United States Navy’s 16th Independence Class littoral combat ship arrived on 18 July ahead of its commissioning on 22 July, before returning to its homeport of San Diego. US Navy officials will also reportedly make a visit to Canberra after commissioning.
Canberra is the first US Navy warship to be commissioned in an allied country and the second US Navy ship to bear the namesake of Canberra. The ship, launched in June 2021, was named Canberra after the Australian cruiser HMAS Canberra which was sunk following the Battle of Savo Island against Japanese forces on 9 August 1942.
Officials in attendance at the commissioning are expected to include US Navy littoral combat ship Squadron One Commodore Captain Marc Crawford, USS Canberra Gold crew Commanding Officer, US Navy Commander Bobby Barber, and HMAS Canberra (III) Commanding Officer, Royal Australian Navy Captain Brendan O’Hara.
Former Australian minister of foreign affairs Marise Payne originally attended the ship’s keel-laying ceremony in Alabama in 2020 and the ship was named by Australia’s Defence Assistant Secretary for Industrial Capability Planning in the Nuclear Submarines Taskforce Alison Petchell in 2021.
Littoral combat ships operate as near-shore and open-ocean surface ships, equipped with surface-to-air missiles and a fully automatic 57mm Mark 110 gun for surface, anti-submarine and mine countermeasure missions.
The littoral combat ship has amassed significant scrutiny during its development with reports the ships were not required in their current role, excess to needs and without required lethality or survivability.
In March, the US Navy released plans to decommission the two eldest Independence Class littoral combat ships – USS Jackson (LCS-6) and USS Montgomery (LCS-8) – into the foreign military sale market next year.
Austal Limited delivered the US Navy’s 17th Independence variant littoral combat ship, the future USS Augusta earlier this year.