Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, AO, CSC, RAN, has signed the project arrangement between the Australian and Spanish Navies for the deployment to Australia of the Spanish Armada Ship, SPS Cantabria from mid-February until November 2013.
The Cantabria deployment is a unique opportunity for both Navies and will strengthen the bilateral relationship between Spain and Australia.
“I am very pleased that the project arrangement for this innovative activity has been signed,” Mr Smith said. “It is a very sensible sharing of resources with positive training and capabilities for both the Armada and for the RAN.”
“Many of Cantabria’s ship systems are similar to the new Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships and the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers (AWD),” Mr Clare said. “This arrangement will provide an opportunity for RAN personnel to train and familiarize themselves with Cantabria before they go on to crew the LHD and AWD.”
Vice Admiral Ray Griggs said, “The deployment as well as providing important training and capability assessment outcomes for both the Spanish Armada and the RAN is the way Navies will operate in the future. Navies have traditionally conducted mutually beneficial activities with each others’ nations so this is just smart defence.”
The Cantabria will augment the capabilities provided by HMA Ships Success and Sirius in providing support to the RAN during domestic and international training and exercises.
The Cantabria is a modern auxiliary oil replenishment ship, similar to HMAS Success, which is capable of supplying fuel, food, stores and ammunition to ships underway.
This will be the longest deployment undertaken by Cantabria and will allow the Spanish Armada to trial the ship’s full range of capabilities including the operating/maintenance cycle of the ship’s systems, and the logistics and maintenance support mechanisms for the ship.
Cantabria’s deployment will culminate with the ship’s participation in the Australian International Fleet Review in October 2013.