HMNZS Canterbury (L421)

HMNZS Canterbury is a multi-role vessel (MRV) of the Royal New Zealand Navy. She was commissioned in June 2007, and is the second ship of the Royal New Zealand Navy to carry the name, the first ship having been a Leander-class frigate. She is also New Zealand's first purpose-built strategic sealift ship.

However, the vessel has been plagued by problems since delivery, having been involved in a number of incidents and being considered less seaworthy than specified. It is estimated as of 2008 that at least another NZ$20 million will have to be spent to achieve the sought-for operational abilities.

HMNZS Canterbury (L421)
Class Ship
Type Frigate
Manufacturer IHC Merwede
Production Period 2005 - 2006
Origin New Zealand
Country Name Origin Year
New Zealand 2007
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
New Zealand 2007 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
IHC Merwede 2005 2006 View

Initial exercises and operations

After commissioning, the ship sailed to its home port of Lyttelton arriving 28 June 2007. After several days of inaugural events, it departed again on 2 July. Following a courtesy visit to Timaru and after a month-long set of trials and exercises in the Auckland area, where she is operationally based at Devonport Naval Base, she is to head to New Zealand's subantarctic waters carrying DOC conservation officers. In September 2007, Canterbury embarked 250 troops and 50 vehicles, including 20 NZLAV armoured vehicles, to test embarkation and disembarkation procedures.

AU-NZ disaster relief response force

In early 2011, it was announced that the ship would form the core asset of a joint Australia-New Zealand task force for disaster-relief operations. At that time Canterbury was the only vessel available to the navies of the two countries suitable for such tasks as three other similarly capable Australian ships were unavailable due to significant maintenance problems.

Coincidentally, the newly appointed disaster-relief ship was in the port of Lyttelton less than two weeks later during the devastating February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The crew provided meals for 1,000 people left homeless in that town, and accommodation for a small number of locals.

2012 Kermadec Islands eruption and pumice raft

HMNZS Canterbury was the first ship to take scientific samples from a 7,500–10,000 square mile pumice raft that was discovered in the Kermadec islands.

Name: HMNZS Canterbury
Namesake: HMNZS Canterbury (F421)
Builder: Merwede Shipyards, Netherlands; fitted out by Tenix Pty Ltd
Cost: NZ$130 million
Laid down: 06th Nov, 2005
Launched: 11th Feb, 2006
Sponsored by: Helen Clark
Completed: 31st May, 2007
Commissioned: 12th June, 2007
Homeport: Ceremonially: Lyttelton

Operationally: Devonport
Identification: Pennant number: L421
Status: Active as of 2013

General characteristics
Type: Multi-role vessel
Displacement: 9,000 tonnes (full load)
Length: 131 m (430 ft)
Beam: 23.4 m (77 ft)
Draught: 5.4 m (18 ft)
Propulsion: CODADE (Combined Diesel and Diesel Electric) consisting of 2 Wärtsilä Engines @ 4.5 MW, 3 × Auxiliary diesels, 2 × Bow Thrusters
Speed: 19.6 kn (36.3 km/h; 22.6 mph) baseline

16 kn (30 km/h; 18 mph) economical
Range: 8,000 nmi (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 16 kn (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Boats & landing craft carried: 2 × medium landing Craft (23 m) Displacement: 55 tonnes (empty) 100 tonnes (full load), Crew: 3

2 × RHIB (7.4 m), 300 hp (220 kW), Range: 130 nmi (240 km) Speed: 35 kn (65 km/h)

2 × special forces RHIB (11 m) as optional cargo
Troops: Up to 250
Complement: Core: 53 Naval, 10 Air Force, 7 Army

Other: 35 trainees, 4 government agents
Sensors & processing systems: Fire Control: Vistar Electro-Optical

ESM: CEA Warrlock HFDF

Radar: S & X Band
Armament: 1 × Remote Controlled MSI DS25 Stabilized Naval Gun with 25mm M242 Bushmaster cannon

2 × .50 calibre machine guns

Small arms
Aircraft carried: 1 × SH-2G Seasprite helicopter. Can be armed with a combination of homing torpedoes, depth charges, Maverick Air to Surface missiles, M60 Machine Gun.

4 × NH90 helicopters can also be operated.
Aviation facilities: Helicopter deck (stern)

End notes