HMNZS Canterbury was designed to handle a variety of missions such as landing, logistics, reinforcements, and more.

The 21st century will mark a change in modern naval properties. Non-traditional security challenges require permanent military operations instead of war. In particular, an increasingly clear trend is the involvement of the navy in border protection, piracy detection or long-range counterterrorism activities, etc. This need requires a “total solution package” of maritime transport strategies, the provision of weapons, logistics or the ability to land from the air and sea from a large ship. This “mother ship” must also be able to operate in various stages on the sea and undergo various types of missions. This feature is also consistent with the trend of naval streamline, even for countries with abundant budgets.

HMNZS Canterbury is a multi-role vessel of the Royal New Zealand Navy

The Royal New Zealand Navy has a small army of just 2100 people, organized in a single fleet, based at Auckland naval base. The force is small with the number of weapons and combat equipment on the payroll is not much, but in return, the navy ships of this country are very modern. To meet the above strategy and to suit the internal conditions, the Royal New Zealand Navy has a policy to diversify warships, typically HMNZS Canterbury.

The strength of the HMNZS Canterbury is not onboard weapons, but on weapons that the ship can carry

HMNZS Canterbury has a displacement of 9,000 tons, a speed of 16-19 knots, capable of carrying 4 NH90 multi-role military helicopters, 1 Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite anti-submarine helicopter… Of which, SH-2G is an armed helicopter designed for anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface threats, with the main weapon being Mk 46 or Mk 50 torpedoes, AGM-65 Maverick guided missiles or AGM-119 anti-ship missiles. With a maximum speed of 256 km/h and a range of 1,000 km, the fire power and maneuverability of SH-2G are sufficient to ensure the minimum safety for its warships.

NZ3618 on HMNZS Canterbury

HMNZS Canterbury was commissioned in June 2007, and is the second ship of the Royal New Zealand Navy to carry the name, she is also New Zealand’s first purpose-built strategic sealift ship. The vessel cost 130 million New Zealand Dollar to construct. Her design is based on a commercial RO-RO ship, Ben-My-Chree in operation in the Irish Sea. She was constructed with an ice-strengthened hull to allow her to operate in the subantarctic waters, where New Zealand governs several islands, and where Canterbury is to assist scientific expeditions.

The vessel cost 130 million New Zealand Dollar to construct
The vessel cost 130 million New Zealand Dollar to construct

The ship has cargo space of 1,451 square metres, which can be unloaded via two ramps, either from the starboard side or the stern. The indicative cargo would encompass: 14 Pinzgauer Light Operational Vehicles, 16 New Zealand light armoured vehicles, 7 Unimog trucks, 2 ambulances, 2 flatbed trucks, 7 vehicle trailers, 2 rough terrain forklifts, 4 ATV-type vehicles and up to 33 20ft containers. The ship is equipped to embark up to eight containers of ammunition and up to two with hazardous materials, and also has an extensive fire sprinkler system.

Vast space inside HMNZS Canterbury
Vast space inside HMNZS Canterbury

Canterbury has a five-bed hospital ward, a two-bed sickbay, an operating theatre, a medical laboratory and a morgue. The ship also contains a gym, workshops, an armoury and magazine, as well as offices for government officials embarked.

Inside HMNZS Canterbury

The ship’s armament consists of a single 25 mm M242 Bushmaster cannon fitted to an MSI DS25 stabilised mount, it has a standard rate of fire of 180 rounds a minute. In adition, there are two 12.7mm machine guns, and a number of small arms, these are intended for self-defence against other smaller craft, and for ocean patrol duties during a naval blockade.

090810 news photo news Martin de Ruyter / Nelson Mail Crew from the HMNZS Canterbury framed against the snow on the Western Ranges as it leaves Port Nelson.

Canterbury was heavily criticized for design errors that led to the loss one of her rigid-hulled inflatable boats during a strong storm in 2007. That same year, a crew member was killed when an rigid-hulled inflatable boat capsized whilst being lowered into the sea. An investigation has indicated that it was caused by the failure of a quick release shackle, which was now being replaced on all naval vessels.
A large amount of money was spent to fix the ship’s faults, the Australian builders of the ship, BAE Systems, agreed to pay $85 million towards remedying the faults of the ship, including the construction of the new landing craft. Improved design of the ladders and the relocation of the rigid-hulled inflatable boat has increased the safety and capability of the ship is no longer compromised.

Evacuees stranded by an earthquake in the New Zealand coastal town of Kaikoura ride from the shore in a New Zealand Navy zodiac craft out to the HMNZS Canterbury for evacuation to Christchurch, New Zealand November 16, 2016. CPL Amanda McErlich/Courtesy of Royal New Zealand Defence Force/Handout via REUTERS

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