Face Difficulty With Zeal.
Swan Hunter Shipbuilders, Wallsend-on-Tyne
28 January 2002
18 July 2005
13 December 2011
|Dimensions & Displacement|
|Range||15,000 kilometres at 15 knots (28 km/h)|
|Crew||158 officers and sailors|
HMAS Choules is a Bay Class Landing Ship Dock, based on the Royal Schelde Enforcer design. The ship was originally commissioned with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service on 28 November 2006 as RFA Largs Bay (L3006). The Bay Class is a proven capability with Largs Bay having provided humanitarian relief as part of the international response to the Haiti earthquake in 2010.
At the end of 2010, Largs Bay was marked as one of the vessels to be removed from service under the UK Strategic Defence and Security Review.
On 17 March 2011, the Department of Defence announced that the Royal Australian Navy would be bidding for Largs Bay. This was followed on 6 April by news that a A$100 million (£65 million) bid had been successful.
ADF Ship Choules was formally handed to the Australian Defence Force in October 2011 following extensive sea trials to confirm the condition of the vessel. The ship also underwent a major refit to make her suitable for RAN service. This work included:
- Overhauling the main propulsion system, including diesel generators and azimuths
- Repainting the hull and flight deck
- Upgrading the tropical cooling system
- Upgrading and maintaining the salt water system
- Overhauling the stern ramp
- Extending the bridge front walkway
- Various safety enhancements
- Supplying and installing mexeflotes pontoons
- Installing temporary aircraft shelter
ADFS Choules arrived in Western Australia in December 2011, and was commissioned as HMAS Choules on 13 December 2011. The ship is named after the late Chief Petty Officer Claude Choules.
HMAS Choules has a large flight deck aft which can accommodate two large helicopters and a docking well in the stern capable of operating a LCM-8 or two LCVP landing craft.
The military lift includes the capacity to load and transport up to 32 Abrams tanks, or 150 light trucks. They can carry a normal load of 356 troops, or overloaded with 700. They are designed to operate over the horizon using helicopters and landing craft, to get men and equipment ashore.