CANBERRA, March 17 Australia will buy a large
amphibious warship from Britain and a C-17 wide-body military
transport plane from Boeing to expand its fleet, which is
currently on earthquake relief operations in Japan, the defence
minister said on Thursday.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith said the navy would buy a
surplus Royal Navy Bay Class heavy amphibious lift vessel, to
complement two 27,000-tonne helicopter assault carriers on order
from Spain and entering service in 2015.
Australia's air force would also buy an extra Boeing C-17
Globemaster transport because of its usefulness in disaster
relief, both at home and after the recent earthquakes in New
Zealand and Japan, Smith said.
The 16,000-tonne Bay Class landing ships are capable of
carrying 350 troops and large military helicopters. Britain
recently noncommissioned one vessel in its fleet under the
government's 2010 Strategic and Defence Review.
Two carriers already under construction by Spanish
shipbuilder Navantia for Australia's navy will each be capable
of carrying 1,000 troops and up to 24 helicopters, as well as
armoured vehicles and tanks.
They are part of a multi-billion-dollar upgrade of
Australia's military that includes new air defence destroyers,
up to 100 stealth fighter aircraft, helicopters, tanks,
long-range cruise missiles and 12 new submarines costing $25
(Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by Ed Davies)