HMAS Armidale (ACPB 83)

HMAS Armidale (ACPB 83), named for the city of Armidale, New South Wales, is the lead ship of the Armidale class of patrol boats serving in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

HMAS Armidale Darling Harbour
HMAS Armidale at Darling Harbour in January 2008
History
Australia
Namesake: City of Armidale, New South Wales
Builder: Austal Ships, Henderson, Western Australia
Commissioned: 24 June 2005
Homeport: HMAS Coonawarra, Darwin
Identification:
Motto: "Stand Firm"
Honours and
awards:
Three inherited battle honours
Status: Active as of 2016
Badge: Ship's badge
General characteristics
Class and type: Armidale-class patrol boat
Displacement: 300 tons standard load
Length: 56.8 m (186 ft)
Beam: 9.7 m (32 ft)
Draught: 2.7 m (8.9 ft)
Propulsion: 2 × MTU 4000 16V 6,225 horsepower (4,642 kW) diesels driving twin propellers
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Range: 3,000 nautical miles (5,600 km; 3,500 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Endurance: 21 days standard, 42 days maximum
Boats & landing
craft carried:
2 × Zodiac 7.2 m (24 ft) RHIBs
Complement: 21 standard, 29 maximum
Sensors and
processing systems:
Bridgemaster E surface search/navigation radar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • Prism III radar warning system
  • Toplite electro-optical detection system
  • Warrlock direction finding system
Armament:

Design and construction

The Armidale-class patrol boats are 56.8 metres (186 ft) long, with a beam of 9.7 metres (32 ft), a draught of 2.7 metres (8 ft 10 in), and a standard displacement of 270 tons.[1] The semi-displacement vee hull is fabricated from aluminium alloy, and each vessel is built to a combination of Det Norske Veritas standards for high-speed light craft and RAN requirements.[2] The Armidales can travel at a maximum speed of 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph), and are driven by two propeller shafts, each connected to an MTU 16V M70 diesel.[3] The ships have a range of 3,000 nautical miles (5,600 km; 3,500 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph), allowing them to patrol the waters around the distant territories of Australia, and are designed for standard patrols of 21 days, with a maximum endurance of 42 days.[3][2]

The main armament of the Armidale class is a Rafael Typhoon stabilised 25-millimetre (0.98 in) gun mount fitted with an M242 Bushmaster autocannon.[3] Two 12.7-millimetre (0.50 in) machine guns are also carried.[4] Boarding operations are performed by two 7.2-metre (24 ft), waterjet propelled rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs).[2] Each RHIB is stored in a dedicated cradle and davit, and is capable of operating independently from the patrol boat as it carries its own communications, navigation, and safety equipment.[2][5]

HMAS Armidale at Waterhen
HMAS Armidale docked at HMAS Waterhen in 2008

Each patrol boat has a standard ship's company of 21 personnel, with a maximum of 29.[3][2] The Armidales do not have a permanently assigned ship's company; instead, they are assigned to divisions at a ratio of two vessels to three companies, which rotate through the vessels and allow the Armidales to spend more time at sea, without compromising sailors' rest time or training requirements.[2][6] A 20-berth auxiliary accommodation compartment was included in the design for the transportation of soldiers, illegal fishermen, or unauthorised arrivals; in the latter two cases, the compartment could be secured from the outside.[7] However, a malfunction in the sewerage treatment facilities aboard HMAS Maitland in August 2006 pumped hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide into the compartment, non-fatally poisoning four sailors working inside, after which use of the compartment for accommodation was banned across the class.[6][7]

Armidale was constructed by Austal at their shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.[1] She was commissioned into the RAN in Darwin on 24 June 2005.[1]

Operational history

Armidale is assigned to Attack Division, is based in Darwin, and performs border protection and fisheries protection patrols.

Citations

  1. ^ a b c Saunders (ed.), IHS Jane's Fighting Ships 2012–2013, p. 33
  2. ^ a b c d e f Kerr, Plain sailing
  3. ^ a b c d Wertheim (ed.), The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, p. 22
  4. ^ Heron & Powell, in Australian Maritime Issues 2006, p. 132
  5. ^ Heron & Powell, in Australian Maritime Issues 2006, p. 131
  6. ^ a b Kerr, Patrol boats shake down fuel faults
  7. ^ a b McKenna, Gas risk remains for navy boats

References

Books
  • Heron, Wesley; Powell, Anthony (2007). "Welcome to the Armidale Class". In Forbes, Andrew; Lovi, Michelle (eds.). Australian Maritime Issues 2006 (PDF). Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs. Sea Power Centre – Australia. pp. 129–134. ISBN 0-642-29644-8. ISSN 1327-5658. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
    • The chapter is available separately as Semaphore, Issue 4, 2006 in PDF and HTML formats.
  • Saunders, Stephen, ed. (2012). IHS Jane's Fighting Ships 2012–2013. Jane's Fighting Ships. Coulsdon: IHS Jane's. ISBN 9780710630087. OCLC 793688752.
  • Wertheim, Eric, ed. (2007). The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World: Their Ships, Aircraft, and Systems (15th ed.). Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-955-2. OCLC 140283156.
Journal and news articles
  • Kerr, Julian (1 January 2008). "Plain sailing: Australia's Armidales prove fit for task". Jane's Navy International. Jane's Information Group.
  • Kerr, Julian (8 December 2007). "Patrol boats shake down fuel faults". The Australian: Defence Special Report. News Corporation. p. 8.
  • McKenna, Michael (2 January 2010). "Gas risk remains for navy boats". The Australian. Retrieved 7 January 2010.

External links

Armidale-class patrol boat

The Armidale class is a class of patrol boats built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Planning for a class of vessels to replace the fifteen Fremantle-class patrol boats began in 1993 as a joint project with the Royal Malaysian Navy, but was cancelled when Malaysia pulled out of the process. The project was reopened in 1999 under the designation SEA 1444, with the RAN as the sole participant. Of the seven proposals tendered, the Austal Ships/Defence Maritime Services (DMS) proposal for twelve vessels based on an enlarged Bay-class patrol boat was selected. Two additional patrol boats were ordered in 2005 to provide a dedicated patrol force for the North West Shelf Venture.

All fourteen vessels were constructed by Austal Ships at Henderson, Western Australia. The first vessel, HMAS Armidale, was commissioned into the RAN in June 2005, and the last, HMAS Glenelg, entered service in February 2008. The Armidale-class ships are operated by the Australian Patrol Boat Group, and based in Cairns and Darwin. They are primarily tasked with border protection, fisheries patrols, and the interception of unauthorised arrivals by sea. The Armidales are longer and heavier than their Fremantle-class predecessors, with improved seakeeping ability and increased range, allowing them to reach Australia's offshore territories. The ships are multi-crewed, with three ship's companies available for every two vessels, allowing the patrol boats to spend more time at sea without cutting into sailors' rest or training time.

During their early service life, there were problems with the fuel systems across the class, and a 20-bunk auxiliary accommodation compartment has been banned from use after toxic fumes were found in the compartment on multiple occasions. The high operational tempo from the Operation Resolute and Operation Sovereign Borders border protection and asylum seeker interception operations, combined with design flaws and poor maintenance, resulted in the ships suffering from hull fracturing around the engineering spaces, mechanical defects, and corrosion issues. DMS's contract to provide in-service support will be terminated in 2017, and the patrol boats are undergoing a major refit in Singapore to reinforce the hull. Two Cape-class patrol boats have been chartered to supplement naval patrol boat availability during the refit cycle, and plans to replace the Armidales with an enlarged class of offshore combatant vessel have been accelerated to bring them into service by the early 2020s.

After extensive damage from an onboard fire, HMAS Bundaberg was decommissioned at the end of 2014. A fictional Armidale-class boat, HMAS Hammersley, appears in the Australian military drama series Sea Patrol from the second season onwards, with filming occurring aboard multiple ships of the class.

HMAS Armidale

Two ships of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) have been named HMAS Armidale, for the city of Armidale, New South Wales.

HMAS Armidale (J240), a Bathurst-class corvette launched in January 1942 and sunk by Japanese aircraft on 1 December 1942; the only ship of the class lost to enemy action

A Fremantle-class patrol boat announced in August 1980 was to be named Armidale, but the vessel was cancelled before construction

HMAS Armidale (ACPB 83), the lead ship of the Armidale-class patrol boats, was commissioned in 2005 and is active as of 2016

List of ships of the Royal Australian Navy

Since its foundation in 1913, the Royal Australian Navy has operated a large number of vessels, including various types of warship, support and supply craft, and auxiliary vessels drawn from civilian service when required.

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