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Australia to acquire Bay Class amphibious ship from UK Navy

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The Largs Bay ship.

CANBERRA (BNS): Australia will be acquiring the British Royal Navy’s Bay Class amphibious ship Largs Bay at a cost of £65 million (appx $100 million), Defence Minister Stephen Smith has said.

The landing ship dock, which was part of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, was commissioned into service in 2006. It became surplus to the Navy’s requirements as a result of the UK Government’s 2010 Defence Strategic Review.

Australia had put forth a bid to lease or acquire the logistics ship from the UK Government in January this year.

“Today, the Government is confirming that Australia has been successful in its bid to acquire a Bay Class ship, Largs Bay,” Smith announced Wednesday.

The 16,000-ton, 176 meters long and 26 meters wide Largs Bay can accommodate two large helicopters at its flight deck. It can also carry around 150 light trucks and 350 troops. Its cargo capacity is equivalent of the Royal Australian Navy’s entire amphibious fleet.

Largs Bay will help ensure that the Royal Australian Navy has the amphibious capability it needs for operation and humanitarian support in our region in the period leading up to the arrival of the Landing Helicopter Dock Ships, the Australian MoD said.

The ship will undergo sea trials to confirm its material state before the acquisition is finalised, the Ministry said.

The ship is expected to arrive by the end of this year and will be operational in early 2012.

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