The Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, today announced that the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) would participate in a unique deployment to Australia of the Spanish Armada Ship, SPS Cantabria, with a series of training exercises in Australia from mid-February until November 2013.
The Cantabria deployment will strengthen the bilateral relationship between Spain and Australia, as well as providing important training and capability assessment outcomes for both the Spanish Armada and the RAN.
The Cantabria is a modern Auxiliary Oil Replenishment ship, similar to HMAS Success, which is capable of supplying fuel, food, stores and ammunition to ships underway.
This will be the longest deployment undertaken by Cantabria and will allow the Spanish Armada to trial the ship’s full range of capabilities including through activities involving both Cantabria and RAN ships and helicopters.
This training program will also include an exchange program between personnel from Cantabria and RAN units.
These exercises with RAN Ships and helicopters will culminate with Cantabria’s participation in the Australian International Fleet Review in October 2013.
The Cantabria’s deployment will also provide a valuable opportunity for the RAN to conduct early training for personnel earmarked for service in the Australian Navy’s new Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships and Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers (AWD).
Many of Cantabria’s systems are the same as the LHDs and AWDs, which are based on Spanish ship designs.
The deployment will provide a unique opportunity for Defence to undertake an assessment of the capability offered by Cantabria as Defence considers the replacement of HMAS Success and Sirius.
The deployment of Cantabria will also reduce the capability risk during Success’ next major maintenance period in 2013.
Cantabria will augment the afloat support capability provided by HMAS Sirius. Sirius is currently in maintenance at HMAS Stirling, which is due for completion next month.
The RAN and Spanish Armada will work together over the coming weeks to finalise the details of the deployment.
The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, will travel to Ferrol, Spain, next week to represent Australia at the launching and naming of the second LHD, the future HMAS Adelaide.
Mr Smith’s Office: Sacha Fenton (02) 6277 7800 or 0467 784 528
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999