AUSTRALIA is looking to buy a naval support ship axed in last year’s defence cuts.
Following talks with British defence secretary Liam Fox yesterday, Australia’s defence minister Stephen Smith revealed he was keen to buy or lease one of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s amphibious Bay Class ships.
He said: ‘Dr Fox and I have agreed that our officials will now pursue that matter to see whether it is appropriate for Australia to add to its amphibious landing vessel and loading dock fleet by either leasing or acquiring such a Bay class vessel from the UK.’
As reported in The News yesterday Mr Smith said that purchasing axed ships was ‘a prospect that may be of some interest to Australia’.
The UK currently has four Bay class landing ship docks, with RFA Largs Bay due to be withdrawn from service in April this year following a decision made in last year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review.
Largs Bay joined the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in 2006 and was instrumental to delivering humanitarian aid to Haiti after last year’s devastating earthquake.