Australia’s Department of Defence officially accepted NUSHIP Stalwart on 31 August according to a press release from the ship’s manufacturer, Navantia. NUSHIP Stalwart, the second of two Supply Class Auxiliaries ordered by the Royal Australian Navy, arrived in Australia from Spain in July after its sister ship HMAS Supply was commissioned in April. The acceptance of NUSHIP Stalwart coincides with HMAS Sirius, the Royal Australian Navy’s previous supply vessel, leaving for its last deployment on 2 September from Fleet Base West before being decommissioned in December.
Like her predecessor, HMAS Sirius, NUSHIP Stalwart will, when commissioned later this year, be based on Australia’s West Coast at Fleet Base West. Her sister ship, HMAS Supply, meanwhile is based on the East Coast at Fleet Base East in Sydney. The Supply Class ships are designated as Auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) ships and are designed to “carry fuel, dry cargo, water, food, ammunition, equipment and spare parts” according to the Royal Australian Navy which will help increase Australia’s maritime capabilities by providing “operational support for the deployed naval or combat forces operating far from the port on the high seas for longer periods”. The Navy also notes the type’s ability to perform humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) missions and pollution control.
The contract to build the two 19,500 tonne ships was awarded to Navantia in 2016, with the design based on the Spanish Navy’s Cantabria Class. The two ships were launched in Spain in 2018 and 2019 respectively, before undergoing builder sea trials. They have extensive aviation facilities, including a hangar and flight deck. First in class HMAS Supply undertook her first underway replenishment in August this year, when she transferred fuel to HMAS Anzac off the Australian Coast.
Cover Image Courtesy Commonwealth of Australia