Will Australia Ever Follow other Naval Fleets and Carry F-35s to Sea?

As tensions rise in the Pacific region, America and Japan have embarked on converting their naval Landing Helicopter docks and amphibious landing ships to operate the F-35B Lightning II, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft. Other nations around the world are also considering or converting their amphibious assault ships to F-35B operating hybrid LHD/Small Carriers.

The Royal Australian Navy operate two Canberra class landing helicopter dock (LHD), these were both commissioned within the last ten years and designed to give Australia a forward defence capability for landing and supporting troops on Asian territory. Unlike the Previous Australian light fleet carriers,  HMAS Melbourne (R21) scrapped in the early 1980’s and HMAS Sydney (R17) scrapped in 1975, the Canberra class LHD ships will not be carrying fixed-wing aircraft.

This film looks at the Canberra class ships and other naval nations’ future and current direction for their light carriers and LHD.

Update, I stated the CV-22 Osprey had landed on the flight deck of the Canberra for the first time in 2022, to clarify it was 2016. During RIMPAC 22 Canberra amphibious assault ship embarked US Marine Corps (USMC) MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft in an at-sea phase of a naval exercise for the first time.


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