The RAN’s new amphibious ship, the Landing Ship Dock (LSD) HMAS Choules, sailed into its new homeport of Sydney on December 21.
“It was terrific to see her sail through Sydney Harbour flying the White Ensign for the first time,” Commander of Australian Fleet, RADM Steve Gilmore said.
Originally commissioned into service with the UK’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary in 2006 as RFA Largs Bay, HMAS Choules will bolster Australia’s amphibious capability for operations and humanitarian support in our region, leading up to the arrival of the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships in 2014 and 2015. The ship has been named after the former Chief Petty Officer Claude Choules, who passed away in May 2011 at the age of 110. A veteran of World Wars One and Two, Choules served as a member of both the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy.
Defence says the 176m long Choules has “a cargo capacity the equivalent of HMA Ships Manoora, Kanimbla and Tobruk combined,” capable of carrying “two large helicopters such as Seahawks and Black Hawks, 150 light trucks and 350 troops.” It has a crew of 158 officers and sailors.