Tuesday 17 Jul 2018 | 12:19 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 17 Jul 2018 | 12:19 | SYDNEY

ADF: International rescue


Sam Roggeveen


9 October 2009 15:30

This FT report about Asia's recent natural disasters quotes one risk analyst who says weather-related catastrophes in Asia have grown from some 75 incidents a year in 1980 to 250 today. Responding to such regional emergencies is likely to be an increasing part of the Australian Defence Force's work.

Which reminds me of a suggestion I made last year about the two large amphibious ships ordered for our navy. My argument was that, since these ships were likely to be used mainly for humanitarian work rather than as warships, why not build and fit them out as 'national logistical assets' rather than as dedicated warships that do a bit of humanitarian work on the side? If nothing else, it would have allowed us to buy cheaper ships instead of the true warfighting vessels we ordered.

The latest news, however, is that we have passed the point of no return on this issue, with Spanish shipbuilder Navantia announcing late last month that the keel had been laid on our first ship, to be called HMAS Canberra.

Above: The future HMAS Canberra at the Navantia shipyards. (Photo: Navantia.)

Above: The newly launched Spanish navy ship Juan Carlos I, very similar to our amphibious ships. (Photo: Navantia.)