Spanish shipbuilder Navantia officially started construction works on the second Royal Australian Navy auxiliary and replenishment oiler (AOR) with a steel cutting ceremony on April 4.
First steel for the ship was cut at the company’s Fene facility in northwestern Spain.
According to Navantia, construction of both ships will require shipbuilders to spend an estimated 3 million working hours to complete them.
The AOR ships are built under a contract signed with the Australian government in May 2016. The ships are based on the Spanish Navy’s auxiliary-oiler replenishment ship ESPS Cantabria and will be delivered at a cost of $640 million.
Prior to being contracted to construct AOR ships, Navantia delivered the two largest ships in Australian Navy service, landing helicopter dock ships HMAS Canberra and Adelaide.
The Spanish shipbuilder is also a contender in the Australian Future Frigate tender with a revised design of the Aegis-equipped F100 frigate which is in service with the Spanish Navy. Additionally, the Australian Defence White Paper says that a third replenishment or additional logistics vessel similar to HMAS Choules would follow in the late 2020s.