RAN commissions second Supply-class AOR ship

The Royal Australian Navy has commissioned the second Supply-class auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) ship at Fleet Base West, Rockingham, Western Australia.

As informed, the vessel HMAS Stalwart will provide logistics replenishment to ships at sea, while also having the ability to support the Joint Force on a wider scale. Stalwart is the third Royal Australian Navy vessel to carry the name, with the first being an S-class destroyer in the early 20th century, and the second an escort maintenance ship that was decommissioned in 1990.

HMAS Stalwart was launched on 31 August 2019, while the first AOR HMS Supply was launched in November 2018.

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The 173.9-meter AORs are built under a contract signed in May 2016 and are based on the Spanish Navy’s Cantabria-class AORs. They will be delivered at an estimated cost of AU$640 million. The ships were built in Spain by Navantia, with Australian industry playing a key role in both the development and ongoing support of the vessels.

Displacing 19,500 tons, the ships are intended to carry fuel, dry cargo, water, food, ammunition, equipment and spare parts to provide operational support for the deployed naval or combat forces operating far from the port on the high seas for longer periods.

In addition to replenishment, the vessels can be used to combat against environmental pollution at sea, provide logistics support for the armed forces, and to support humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) operations following a natural disaster.

Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan said the auxiliary oiler replenishment ships bring a significant capability to Navy and Australia’s regional partners in terms of providing at-sea support.

“These ships represent a generational shift from the capability provided by previous support ships in that they are equipped with a combat management system that improves information sharing with other ADF and allied assets,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

The City of Greater Geraldton has been announced as the ceremonial home port of HMAS Stalwart, navy officials revealed in a separate statement.

Photo: Leading Seaman Ernesto Sanchez; Royal Australian Navy