Australia’s next-generation fleet replenishment vessel completes Sea Acceptance Trials

The RAN's NUSHIP Supply has completed its sea acceptance trials.

NUSHIP Supply, the first of two Supply-class auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) ships ordered by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has completed Sea Acceptance Trials, Navantia Australia announced on 13 August.

Sea Acceptance Trials

According to the company, the sea trials lasted three days and included testing of the rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) davit and a dry-hookup evolution with the Spanish Navy’s AOR, SPS Cantabria. The ship carried a mixed crew of 135 Navantia and RAN personnel during the trials.

The 19,500-tonne and 173.9 m-long vessel, which is based on the Cantabria-class AOR, will soon depart the company’s facilities in the Spanish coastal city of Ferrol and is expected to arrive at Fleet Base West in Western Australia in late September for equipment fit-out. This work includes Phalanx close-in weapon system, communications suite, and combat system.

Navantia Australia

“Whilst constructed by Navantia in Spain, Australian industry is playing a key role in the build of the AORs,” said Navantia Australia’s Managing Director, Alfonso García-Valdés, noting that the milestone is especially noteworthy given the challenges posed by COVID-19.

“There is a high level of Australian industry capability involved comprised of Australian products, skills and expertise and represents an investment of over $120 million,” he added. “Australian companies such as Scientific Management Associates (SMA), Baker and Provan, Taylor Bros, Saab Australia and Raytheon Australia have all participated in the build.”

Australia’s Project Sea 1654 Phase 3

The A$642 million contract for the two AORs was awarded in May 2016 under Australia’s Project Sea 1654 Phase 3 Maritime Operational Support Capability programme. The RAN stated that these new vessels are designed carry 1,450 m³ of JP5 jet fuel, 8,200 m³ of marine diesel fuel, 1,400 m³ of fresh water, 270 tonnes of ammunition, and 470 tonnes of provisions. Each ship can also embark a helicopter and up to 122 personnel.

Besides at-sea replenishment and logistics support, the vessels can also be used to boost the RAN’s humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) efforts.

NUSHIP Supply will be commissioned into RAN service as HMAS Supply (II) by the end of 2020. Second-of-class Stalwart (III) was launched on 30 August and is expected to join the RAN in 2022. The new AORs will replace HMAS Success (II) which was decommissioned on 29 June and the supply ship HMAS Sirius.

by Jr Ng