The Royal Australian Navy commissioned its latest ship into service on November 13 at Fleet Base West, Rockingham, Western Australia. HMAS Stalwart, the second of the Supply-class auxiliary oiler replenishment ships, will provide logistics replenishment to ships at sea, while also having the ability to support the Joint Force on a wider scale. The auxiliary oiler replenishment ships bring a significant capability to Navy and Australia’s regional partners in terms of providing at-sea support.
HMAS Stalwart is the second of the Navantia built Supply-class replenishment oiler for the Royal Australian Navy. It had its keel laid in November 2018 as a part of the SEA 1654 Phase 3 project. HMAS Stalwart (III) and her sister ship HMAS Supply (II) will replace HMAS Success and HMAS Sirius with a single class of two AOR Ships to sustain deployed maritime forces. The two ships are based on the Spanish Cantabria class and were built at the Ferrol shipyard. As of March 2021, the vessel began sea trials in Spain though work on her was running about eight months behind schedule. She arrived in Australia in June 2021 for her final fit out with Australian-specific equipment.
“These ships represent a generational shift from the capability provided by previous support ships in that they are equipped with a combat management system that improves information sharing with other ADF and allied assets. Both Stalwart and Supply represent cutting-edge maritime technology and can seamlessly integrate into both national and multinational task groups, which is paramount in the challenging strategic environment,” Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan said.
Stalwart is the third Royal Australian Navy vessel to carry the name, with the first being an S-class destroyer in the early 20th century, and the second an escort maintenance ship that was decommissioned in 1990. The new auxiliary oiler replenishment ships were built in Spain by Navantia, with Australian industry playing a key role in both the development and ongoing support of the vessels. The ships are intended to carry fuel, dry cargo, water, food, ammunition, equipment and spare parts to provide operational support for the deployed naval or combat forces operating far from the port on the high seas for longer periods.