August 13, 2020 – NUSHIP Supply, the lead ship for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) new Supply class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) ships, successfully completed its Sea Acceptance Trials in Ferrol, Spain last week.
The sea trials lasted three days and two nights and included testing of the RHIB davit and a Dry-hookup with the Spanish Navy’s AOR, SPS Cantabria. The vessel sailed with a crew of 135 on-board comprised of a mix of Navantia and Royal Australian Navy personnel.
Navantia Australia’s Managing Director, Alfonso García-Valdés, said the achievement of this milestone particularly given the challenges of COVID-19, is most welcomed and is an example of Spanish – Australian collaboration to advance Australia’s sovereign naval shipbuilding and sustainment industry.
“Whilst constructed by Navantia in Spain, Australian industry is playing a key role in the build of the AORs,” said Mr García-Valdés.
“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.”
“Australian companies such as Scientific Management Associates (SMA), Baker and Provan, Taylor Bros, Saab Australia and Raytheon Australia have all participated in the build. 4,500 tonnes of steel used in the construction of the vessels has been sourced from BlueScope.”
The arrival of the AOR Supply also brings the commencement of a five-year sustainment contract, primed by Navantia Australia, which will generate more opportunities for Australian companies to join Navantia’s global supply chain and create jobs for Australian workers.
The AORSPO Enterprise, which Navantia Australia has formed with the Australian Department of Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, is already providing 40 new jobs for Australians.
“Navantia Australia has attracted an experienced and skilled team to support the Supply class AORs through-life, enabling us to provide Navy with continuous sustainment where and when the vessels need it,” stated Mr García-Valdés.
“We have opened an office in Henderson, Western Australia, in addition to personnel based at Garden Island, Sydney to support both the vessels.”
“Our AOR Sustainment team will continue to grow over the life of the sustainment program and represents a major investment in skills and technology transfer to Australia from Spain.”
NUSHIP Supply is due to arrive at Fleet Base West in Western Australia in late September where she will undergo an Australian fit-out period. This includes fitting the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System, Communications Suite, Typhoon and Combat System following which further trials will be conducted.
NUSHIP Supply was launched at the Navantia Shipyards in Ferrol, Spain on 24 November 2018. Supply‘s sister ship, Stalwart, was launched by Navantia last year in August 2019. The vessels are based on the BAC ‘Cantabria’ (A15) replenishment oiler design of the Spanish Navy.
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 operations following a natural disaster.