HMAS Tobruk (L 50)

HMAS Tobruk (L 50)

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HMAS Tobruk (L 50)

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HMAS Tobruk (L 50) is a Landing Ship Heavy (LSH) of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), based on the design of the Round Table class of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Laid down in February 1979, Tobruk was the first purpose-built amphibious vessel of the RAN, and was intended to provide the Australian Defence Force with a sealift capability. She was commissioned into the RAN in April 1981, but was afflicted by several engine and sewerage treatment plant problems during the early part of her career; the latter causing a death on board in 1981.

While the Government intended to retire her in the early 1990s, this did not go ahead, and Tobruk remains in service with the RAN as of 2011. It is planned that Tobruk will remain active until 2012, when she will be replaced by one of the Canberra class Landing Helicopter Docks.

Design and construction

In the late 1970s, it was decided that the Australian Army needed to be provided with a long-term sealift capability, preferably through the acquisition of a dedicated cargo ship. The chartering of civilian ships to provide this capability when required—as had been done with the merchant vessels Jeparit and Boonaroo during the Vietnam War—was considered and rejected, because Australian National Line was unable to provide the necessary level of support. It was decided that a purpose-built ship would be constructed for the role, and would be...
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