21 Januari 2011

Australian Defense Minister Considers to Use UK Amphibious Vessel

21 Januari 2011

Bay class Landing Ship Dock (photo : Royal Navy)

CANBERRA, (Xinhua) -- Australia will consider whether to buy an amphibious vessel from the United Kingdom (UK), Defense Minister Stephen Smith said on Wednesday.

Australia has ordered a number of the amphibious vessels from Spain, but they will not be ready until 2015.

Following Australia-United Kingdom Ministerial Dialogue (AUKMIN) meetings in Sydney on Tuesday, UK Defense Minister Liam Fox visited South Australia (SA) with Smith on Wednesday to look at the defense science technology organizations and other defense capabilities.

Smith said the bilateral defense talks had been very successful and said the ministers had agreed they would discuss the possibility of Australia either buying or leasing from the UK an amphibious landing vessel, which is used to land and support ground forces.

"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," Smith told Australia Associated Press on Wednesday.

Smith said a purchase or lease would help Australia until it gained its own landing craft in 2015.
The move came as the British government said in October it would cut its defense budget by eight percent, shrinking its armed forces and scrapping assets such as its flagship aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal.

Other Royal Navy ships scrapped were four frigates, a landing ship and a larger "landing platform dock".

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