The first of two new Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships was officially named NUSHIP Canberra in a traditional Navy ceremony at BAE Systems’ Williamstown, Victoria yards.
The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Defence Stephen Smith, as well as CDF GEN David Hurley, Chief of Navy VADM Ray Griggs, and Spanish Minister for Defence Pedro Morenés Eulate. The vessel was named by Mrs Vickie Coates, wife of the late RADM Nigel Coates who passed away in June 2010. The vessel will initially be known as NUSHIP Canberra, and will be formally commissioned as HMAS Canberra once it has been accepted into service by the RAN.
The LHD is the third Australian ship to bear the name Canberra – Canberra (I) was a County Class heavy cruiser which was sunk during the Battle of Savo Island in August 1942, while Canberra (II) was a Perry/Adelaide class Guided Missile Frigate (FFG) which was decommissioned in 2009. In 1943 the USN also named a Baltimore class heavy cruiser USS Canberra in recognition of the valour displayed by the HMAS Canberra at Savo Island, the only time a US warship has been named for a foreign warship or a foreign capital city. NUSHIP Canberra has been assigned the pennant number ‘02’.