Kanimbla-class landing platform amphibious

The Kanimbla class was a class of amphibious transport ships (designated Landing Platform Amphibious) operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Two ships (originally built as Newport-class tank landing ships for the United States Navy) were purchased by Australia in 1994 and modified. Problems during the handover process and the need to repair previously unidentified defects meant the ships did not enter operational service until the end of the decade.

Between them, the two ships have deployed to the Solomon Islands in 2000–01, Vanuatu in 2001, and participated in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the Australian response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Australian deployment to East Timor following the 2006 political crisis, and Operation Quickstep off Fiji.

After a large number of defects were found in both ships during late 2010, the vessels were docked. It was decided that Manoora was beyond economic repair, and she was decommissioned in May 2011. Kanimbla was to be repaired and returned to service, but the estimated cost and time to do this, plus the successful acquisition of the British landing ship dock RFA Largs Bay as an interim capability replacement, prompted the government to decommission Kanimbla in November 2011. Both ships were sold in 2013 and broken up for scrap.

Kanimbla-class landing platform amphibious
Class Ship
Type Transport
Manufacturer National Steel and Shipbuilding Company
Origin Australia
Country Name Origin Year
Australia 1994
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Afghanistan 2001 View
Fiji 2006 2006 View
Iraq 2003 2011 View
Solomon Islands 2000 2001 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
National Steel and Shipbuilding Company 1971 2 View
NameBuilderLaid downLaunchedCommissioned
(into RAN)
National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego24 May 19697 February 197029 August 19947 May 2011Broken up at New Orleans
(ex-Fairfax County)
National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego28 March 197019 December 197025 November 199425 November 2011Broken up at New Orleans

The two ships were based at Fleet Base East. The Kanimblas operated primarily in South East Asian regions, and were usually the first asset deployed by the Australian government during regional emergencies. Both ships deployed to the Solomon Islands in 2000–01 in support of operations there, while Kanbimbla took part in disaster relief operations in Vanuatu in 2001. They have since participated in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the Australian response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and the Australian deployment to East Timor following the 2006 poilitical crisis, among other deployments. Two helicopters have crashed while operating from Kanimbla; a Sea King which crashed off the island of Nias in Indonesia on 2 April 2005 killing nine personnel, and an S-70A Blackhawk helicopter which crashed in international waters off Fiji on 29 November 2006 during Operation Quickstep, killing the pilot and a trooper from the Special Air Service Regiment.

In late September 2010, both ships were brought to Fleet Base East for an 'operational pause' after several problems were identified with the ships. These included large quantities of corrosion, faults with the deck crane and alarm system, the need to overhaul propulsion machinery, power generators, and air conditioning, and an outdated communication suite. The problems have been attributed to the ship's high operational tempo, delays in maintenance, and the age of the ships. On 1 November it was reported that the two vessels might never put to sea again due to their poor condition, but a Navy spokesman was quoted the next day as saying that they would both be repaired by early 2011.

On 1 February 2011 the Minister for Defence announced that repairing Manoora would not be cost effective given that the ship was scheduled to retired at the end of 2012 and that she would instead be decommissioned. Manoora was decommissioned at Fleet Base East on 27 May 2011. At the time of the February 2010 announcement, the intention was to repair Kanimbla return her to active service by mid-2012, and let her continue operating until her original 2014 decommissioning date. However, the predicted time frame and cost of the repairs (18 months and over $35 million), and the successful acquisition of the British landing ship dock RFA Largs Bay (which entered RAN service at the end of 2011 as HMAS Choules) prompted the Australian government to announce plans on 18 August 2011 to decommission Kanimbla at earliest opportunity. Kanimbla was decommissioned on 25 November 2011.

Class overview
Builders: National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (original builders) Forgacs Dockyard (conversion)
Operators: Royal Australian Navy
Built: 1971 (for US Navy)
In service: 1999–2010
In commission: 1994–2011
Completed: 2
Retired: 2

General characteristics

Class & type: Modified Newport-class tank landing ship
Type: Landing Platform Amphibious
Displacement: 8,534 tons
Length: 159.2 m (522 ft)
Beam: 21.2 m (70 ft)
Draught: 5.3 m (17 ft)
Propulsion: 6 × ALCO V16 diesel engines, 2,750 hp (2,051 kW) each driving two shafts (3 engines per shaft)
Speed: 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
Range: 14,000 nautical miles (26,000 km; 16,000 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)
Boats & landing craft carried: 2 x LCM8 landing craft

Capacity: 450 embarked forces, 955 square metres of usable tank deck and cargo space
Complement: 23 naval officers, 2 army officers, 197 sailors, 18 soldiers
Armament: 1 × 20 mm Phalanx Mk 15 close–in weapon system, 6 × 12.7 mm Machine guns
Aircraft carried: 4 x Blackhawk or 3 x Sea King
Aviation facilities: 3 helicopter landing spots (2 aft, 1 forward)

Hangar for 4 helicopters

Capable of landing and launching Chinook helicopters

End notes