Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that Australia has been successful in its bid to acquire the United Kingdom’s Bay Class amphibious ship Largs Bay.
The Government has previously announced that it had asked Defence to develop new and comprehensive options to ensure transition to Australia’s Canberra Class amphibious Landing Helicopter Dock ships, which become operational from 2014, including the lease or purchase of a Bay Class Ship from the UK Government.
Today, the Government is confirming that Australia has been successful in its bid to acquire a Bay Class ship, Largs Bay.
Largs Bay is a Landing Ship Dock (LSD) which was commissioned into service in 2006. It became surplus to United Kingdom (UK) requirements as a result of the UK Government’s 2010 Defence Strategic Review.
The ship weighs 16,000 tonnes. It is 176 metres long and 26 metres wide. Its flight deck has room for two large helicopters and can also carry around 150 light trucks and 350 troops. Its cargo capacity is the equivalent of the Royal Australian Navy’s entire amphibious fleet.
Largs Bay is a proven capability having provided humanitarian relief as part of the international response to the Haiti earthquake in 2010.
Largs Bay will help ensure that the Royal Australian Navy has the amphibious capability it needs for operation and humanitarian support in our region in the period leading up to the arrival of the Landing Helicopter Dock Ships.
The ship has been acquired for £65 million (approximately $100 million).
Teekay Shipping Australia has thoroughly inspected the ship and found that: “The ship presents very well, and from a technical point of view, there are no major defects.”
Before the acquisition is finalised, Defence and the Royal Australian Navy will conduct sea trials to confirm the material state of the ship.
The ship is expected to arrive by the end of the year in time for it to be operational in early 2012.
The Government will announce further details of the transition plan for Australia’s amphibious ship capability to provide this essential capability until arrival of the Canberra Class in due course.