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HMAS Choules passes first capability test


HMAS Labuan a Royal Australian Navy Landing Craft Heavy (LCH), sits off the port quarter of HMAS Choules during Exercise SQUADEX 2012. Photo: Australian MoD.

SYDNEY (BNS): The Royal Australian Navy's new amphibious ship HMAS Choules has successfully carried out its first major amphibious training tasks, the MoD has said.

The Australian Navy and Army have recently carried out the amphibious exercises known as 'SQUADEX' and 'SEA LION.'

Exercise SQUADEX provided practice for drivers of Army Landing Craft Medium (LCM8) and Navy Landing Craft Heavy (LCH), along with a variety of vehicle types as they drive on and off HMAS Choules.

The MoD said in a statement that HMAS Choules is significantly larger than the amphibious ships she replaced and has additional capabilities such as a floating dock.

The internal docking facility or 'well dock' can be flooded to a depth of up to three metres so landing craft and the ship's own landing barges called Mexeflotes actually drive inside the hull whilst the ship is at sea, taking on their cargo of vehicles and people in safe and controlled conditions, it said.

For exercise SEA LION, HMAS Choules was joined by the New Zealand amphibious ship HMNZS Canterbury.

At 176 metres long, Choules has a crew of 158 officers and sailors, including a permanently embarked Ships Army Department of 22. The ship can accommodate two large helicopters, 150 light trucks and 350 troops.

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