The US Navy (USN) commissioned the Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Canberra (LCS 30) at the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) Fleet Base East, Garden Island, Sydney on 22 July.
The commissioning of a USN warship named Canberra overseas in Australia underlined the close relationship between the United States and Australia, and between the two navies.
In the commissioning ceremony’s principal address, US Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro noted that Canberra is a “warship that is destined to serve throughout the Indo-Pacific region”.
In a media statement released on 22 July, the Australian Department of Defence said “Today’s commissioning reflects the long-standing friendship and alliance between Australia and the US and our shared commitment to upholding the rules-based order.”
The commissioning ceremony was attended by senior leaders from both countries and both navies, including the USN’s Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Michael Gilday and the RAN’s Chief of Navy (CN) Vice Admiral Mark Hammond.
Canberra sailed for Sydney from its homeport at Naval Base San Diego on 13 June. In the build-up to the commissioning ceremony, sailors from Canberra and RAN namesake first-in-class amphibious assault ship HMAS Canberra exchanged ship tours in Sydney.
According to a Commander Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet Public Affairs statement released on 23 July, Canberra will be the fifth Independence-class LCS to operate in the Indo-Pacific region, joining USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Manchester (LCS 14), USS Oakland (LCS 24), and USS Mobile (LCS 26).
The statement added that LCS vessels are designed to operate in both near-shore and open-ocean environments, including addressing contemporary threats in littoral regions and supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence missions.
Canberra is the second USN vessel to be named after Australia’s capital city. The first was a Baltimore-class cruiser that was in service between 1943 and 1978.
The USN’s Independence-class LCS ships are designed by Australian shipbuilder Austal Ltd.
by Jr Ng