Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the Largs Bay, now ADF Ship Choules, had been formally handed to the Australian Defence Force at Falmouth Dockyard in the United Kingdom.
ADF Ship Choules will set sail for Australia next month, arriving in Western Australia in mid-December where it will be officially commissioned, HMAS Choules.
ADF Ship Choules is a Landing Ship Dock (LSD) which was commissioned into service in 2006.
The Government announced it had been successful in purchasing the ship, formally RFA Largs Bay, in April this year for £65 million (approximately $100 million).
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 HMA Ships Manoora, Kanimbla and Tobruk combined.
ADF Ship Choules is a proven capability having provided humanitarian relief as part of the international response to the Haiti earthquake in 2010.
The acquisition of this ship 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.
Mr Smith and Mr Clare paid tribute to the Officers and Ship’s Company of ADF Ship Choules who have worked very hard to learn new skills and procedures in a relatively short timeframe to operate the ship safely and be ready for the handover.
The ship has been fittingly named after the former Chief Petty Officer Claude Choules, who sadly passed away in May this year at the age of 110.
Claude Choules saw service in World War One and World War Two, as a member of both the Royal Navy and later the Royal Australian Navy.
He was Australia’s last living link to those who served in World War One. It is therefore fitting that this ship bear the name Choules to represent the vessel’s links to both Navies.
In the centenary year of Navy, it honours all of those men and women who, like Claude Choules, delivered quietly and with great dedication, loyal service to the Royal Australian Navy.
Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Mr Clare’s Office: Korena Flanagan (02) 6277 7620 or 0418 251 316
Department: (02) 6127 1999