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Australia commissions final Supply-class oiler HMAS Stalwart

HMAS Stalwart commissioning ceremony
The crew of HMAS Stalwart line the ship's upper decks during its commissioning ceremony at Fleet Base West, Rockingham. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

The Royal Australian Navy has welcomed the second of its two Supply-class auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) ships in a ceremony at Fleet Base West, Western Australia.

HMAS Stalwart officially joined the Royal Australian Navy fleet on November 13, five months after arriving in Perth from Spain, where it was built by Navantia.

The Supply-class oilers will 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.

They are replacing the now retired HMAS Success and the HMAS Sirius, which wrapped up its final deployment on November 13, returning home from the Indo-Pacific Endeavour maneuver. The former commercial tanker turned fleet replenishment vessel is scheduled to decommission in December this year.

“The new replenishment ships will strengthen operational support to Navy combat units at sea and increase the ADF’s ability to support operations in the region,” Australian defense minister Peter Dutton said.

“The AORs are equipped with a combat management system that improves information-sharing with other ADF and allied assets, allowing them to integrate more fully in a task group in support of missions.”

“Australian industry played a key role in the development of these vessels, with 4501 tons of Australian steel plate, manufactured by Blue Scope, incorporated in the construction of Stalwart,” Australian defense industry minister Melissa Price added.

“Australian industry will continue to play an important part in the ships’ longevity with through-life sustainment of both ships projected to be at least $875 million.

“I am also particularly proud that Stalwart’s ceremonial homeport will be in Geraldton, in my Durack electorate, where I know locals will embrace her.”

HMAS Stalwart will operate out of Fleet Base West in Western Australia, while her sister ship, HMAS Supply, which entered service in April this year, is based at Fleet Base East, New South Wales.