Navantia S.A has reached a major milestone after laying the keel for the first of two Australian auxiliary oiler and replenishment ships (AORs). The AOR is being built in the Ferrol shipyard.

The keel was laid in a ceremony attended by Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN, chair of Navantia S.A. José Esteban Garcia Vilasanchez and chair of Navantia Australia Warren King.

The milestone is a significant moment in the AOR programme, under which Navantia will supply and sustain two ships for the Royal Australian Navy from 2019. These vessels will replace the Navy’s current supply ships HMA Ships Success and Sirius.

The two ships will provide a superb logistic capability, together with significant commonality and interoperability with other Royal Australian Navy assets. The AORs are optimised to support the Canberra Class amphibious ships and Hobart Class destroyers as part of task force operations.

The Australian industry is playing a key role in the construction of the AORs, with more than AU$120m in Australian content as part of the programme, with partner companies, including Taylor Brothers, Saab Australia, Raytheon Australia, and BlueScope Steel amongst others.

The achievement of the keel laying demonstrates Navantia’s ability to meet key schedule requirements in the delivery of world-leading capability to the Royal Australian Navy. The construction two AORs follow Navantia’s leading role in the design and construction of the two Canberra Class amphibious ships, three Hobart Class destroyers, and twelve landing craft for Australia.

Navantia Australia is competing to design and build nine F-5000 frigates in Australia as part of the competitive evaluation process for Australia’s Future Frigate programme.

AOR Key Facts

Length: 173.80m

Beam: 23m

Displacement (Full Load): 19,930t

Maximum speed: 20 knots

Crew: 130 people

Accommodation capacity: 196 people

Propulsion plant: 2 x 9,000kW

Electric plant: DDGG 4 x 1,460kW