HMS Supply (III) was employed as the naval tender and armed companion of the First Fleet’s flagship HMS Sirius. Considered by some as ‘too small for so long a voyage’ and a ‘very improper vessel for this type of service’, HMS Supply, while the smallest and oldest of the 11 ships in the First Fleet, proved to be the swiftest and was soon made the flagship by the Fleet Captain, Arthur Phillip.
When commissioned late this year, AOR Supply will be the second HMA Ship to bear that name and will be the lead ship of the two Supply Class AORs.
The former was built in Northern Ireland and decommissioned after a long and diverse career on 16 December 1985 and was replaced by HMAS Success (II).
Alfonso Garcia-Valdes ‘delivered’ to the commanding officer Captain Ben Hissink a model of the Supply Class AOR and reaffirmed to the ship’s company that Navantia Australia looks forward to stands ready to support Supply throughout her life of service.
Captain Ben Hissink presented Garcia-Valdes with his own ship’s cap embroidered with MD-NAUS, which he was delighted to receive.
Ahead of delivery, Navantia Australia has been co-located with CASG AORSPO at Garden Island, Sydney, since January 2019 and is currently headed up by John Wardell. Personnel will be located at HMAS Stirling at Garden Island, Western Australia, in the coming months.
Later this year, the AORSPO Enterprise will be formed by CASG and Navantia Australia and industry partners to assist with performance of maintenance activities.
Navantia Australia has been appointed in-service support contractor providing through-life support services for the first five years.
HMAS Supply, is planned to enter service in 2020, with full operational capability scheduled for 2022. The second Supply Class vessel, HMAS Stalwart, is expected to enter service in 2022.
HMA Ships Success and Sirius will be replaced with a single class of double-hulled, AOR ship to be built by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia. The two Australian ships are based on the Spanish Navy’s Cantabria Class AORs.
The ships are intended to carry fuel, dry cargo, water, food, ammunition, equipment and spare parts to provide operational support for the deployed naval or combat forces operating far from the port on the high seas for longer periods.
In addition to replenishment, the vessels can be used to combat against environmental pollution at sea, provide logistics support for the armed forces, and to support humanitarian and disaster relief operations following a natural disaster.
HMAS Supply was launched at the Navantia Shipyards in Ferrol, Spain, on 24 November 2018. The following day, in accordance with shipbuilding tradition, the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, positioned a coin under where the hull will be constructed for Stalwart.