Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare have announced that Australia’s bid to acquire a surplus Bay Class Landing Ship Dock (LSD), the RFA Largs Bay, from the UK has been successful.
The 16,000 tonne displacement, 176m long Largs Bay will be acquired for £65 million (A$102 million), pending successful completion of sea trials to be conducted by the RAN and Defence “to confirm the material state of the ship”, according to the ministers. Assuming that assessment is satisfactory (and the ship has already been inspected by Teekay Shipping Australia), the Largs Bay will arrive in Australia by the end of the year and become operational with the RAN in early 2012.
Fitted with a large helicopter deck able to carry two large helicopters, the Largs Bay can accommodate 350 troops and carry around 150 light trucks. Commissioned into Royal Fleet Auxiliary service in 2006, the Largs Bay became surplus following cuts announced in the UK’s 2010 Defence Strategic Review.