Australian Navy’s capability boosted with new ship arrival

The Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy’s newest ship HMAS Choules has arrived at its home­port at Fleet Base East in Syd­ney after being for­mal­ly com­mis­sioned into ser­vice in Fre­man­tle on 13 Decem­ber 2011.

HMAS Choules
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence

Com­man­der of Aus­tralian Fleet, Rear Admi­ral Steve Gilmore AM, CSC, RAN wel­comed the ship and her crew of 158 and said she would make an excit­ing addi­tion to the Navy. 

“It was ter­rif­ic to see her sail through Syd­ney Har­bour fly­ing the White Ensign for the first time,” Rear Admi­ral Gilmore said. 

HMAS Choules has been named after the longest sur­viv­ing World War One vet­er­an, Claude Choules who passed away in April this year at age 110. 

“The crew has already giv­en the ship a strong sense of char­ac­ter through the hard work that has been under­tak­en in the lead up to HMAS Choules’ com­mis­sion­ing,” Rear Admi­ral Gilmore said. 

The acqui­si­tion of this ship will help ensure that the Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy has the amphibi­ous capa­bil­i­ty it needs for oper­a­tions and human­i­tar­i­an sup­port in our region in the peri­od lead­ing up to the arrival of the Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy’s Land­ing Heli­copter Dock ships in 2014 and 2015. 

With a car­go capac­i­ty the equiv­a­lent of HMA Ships Manoo­ra, Kan­im­bla and Tobruk com­bined, HMAS Choules is a proven capa­bil­i­ty hav­ing pro­vid­ed human­i­tar­i­an relief when she was under Roy­al Navy com­mand as RFA Largs Bay, assist­ing as part of the inter­na­tion­al response to the Haiti earth­quake in 2010. 

The 176 metre long ves­sel has a crew of 158 Offi­cers and sailors, and can accom­mo­date two large heli­copters such as Sea Hawks and Black Hawks, 150 light trucks and 350 troops. HMAS Choules also car­ries two mex­e­flotes, which are land­ing raft, designed to move goods and vehi­cles between the ship and the shore. 

The Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy now has the fol­low­ing amphibi­ous capa­bil­i­ty if required to pro­vide human­i­tar­i­an and dis­as­ter relief dur­ing the cur­rent cyclone season: 

  • HMAS Choules;
  • HMAS Tobruk;
  • Win­der­mere – leased from P&O until 31 Jan­u­ary 2012, with the option to extend to the end of Feb­ru­ary 2012;
  • HMNZS Can­ter­bury – under Australia’s agree­ment with New Zealand it would be made avail­able as part of the joint Pacif­ic-focused Ready Response Force, sub­ject to any oper­a­tional require­ments in New Zealand. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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