Royal Australian Navy Commissions Replenishment Ship HMAS Stalwart

The crew of HMAS Stalwart line the ship's upper decks during its commissioning ceremony at Fleet Base West, Rockingham. RAN picture by LSIS Richard Cordell.

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.

Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan said the auxiliary oiler replenishment ships bring a significant capability to Navy and Australia’s regional partners in terms of providing at-sea support.

“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,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

“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.”

Stalwart Commanding Officer Commander Steve McCracken said November 13 marked a significant day in the careers of the entire ship’s company.

“To be part of a commissioning crew is a defining moment in the lives of all mariners and often represents the pinnacle of a naval career,” Commander McCracken said.

“The entire ship’s company has worked extremely hard to prepare for today and will continue to do so as we undertake the various sea trials that will allow us to integrate our ship into the fleet.”

Able Seaman Rachel Lynch said the day represented a milestone in her career.

“I’m a proud Western Australian and couldn’t be more excited to be a member of the commissioning crew for the Navy’s newest WA-based ship,” she said.

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“I joined the Navy in 2018 and I’ve already experienced so many amazing things in such a short period of time.

“Being part of a commissioning crew is rare – I feel very fortunate to be able to add this experience to my already exciting naval journey.”

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 name Stalwart has a proud history in our Navy and I am confident that the men and women of this new ship will maintain that tradition as Stalwart (III) enters service,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

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.

NUSHIP Supply  was laid down on 18 November 2017, launched in Ferrol, Spain, in November 2018. The vessel arrived at HMAS Stirling, Garden Island Fleet Base West, Western Australia, on 2 October 2020 for final fit out and testing activities.

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