ABOUT THE HMAS CANBERRA
Warship to Divers Playground
Launched in 1 December 1978, the HMAS Canberra FFG-02 was built by Todd Pacific Shipyards Corporation in Seattle, Washington, USA. The second of six similar FFG-7 Class Guided Missile Frigates, she was commissioned on 21 March 1981. The HMAS Canberra and her five sister frigates (HMA Ships Adelaide, Sydney, Darwin, Melbourne and Newcastle), were the first Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships to be powered by gas turbines fo
r their main propulsion.
The HMAS Canberra’s role was to operate with other maritime forces to help keep the world’s sea lanes open and free by providing protection for military and merchant convoys. To achieve this she was specifically designed to simultaneously counter the threats posed by submarines, air, surface and subsurface launched missiles and enemy warships. Accordingly, the ship was fitted with long range radar, sonar and electronic surveillance sensors which were co-ordinated by high speed computers to provide data for the ship’s weapon systems.
The weapons systems of the HMAS Canberra FFG-02 included shipborne and helicopter borne torpedo delivery systems, surface to air and surface to surface guided missiles, a rapid firing gun and electronic decoy devices. This weapons fit was intended to provide an in-depth defence for both the ship and the force or convoy she was protecting.
The HMAS Canberra was powered by two computer controlled gas turbine engines operating through a controllable pitch propellor to give the ship high manoeuvrability and the ability to be “on-line” in less than one eight of the time required by steam turbine ships.