HMAS Wollongong (ACPB 92)

HMAS Wollongong (ACPB 92), named for the city of Wollongong, New South Wales, is an Armidale-class patrol boat of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

History
Australia
Namesake: City of Wollongong, New South Wales
Builder: Austal Ships, Henderson, Western Australia
Commissioned: 23 June 2007
Homeport: HMAS Cairns, Cairns
Identification:
Motto: "Heed The Call"
Honours and
awards:
Six 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), named Wolf and Hawk.[2][5] 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][6]

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][7] 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.[8] However, a malfunction in the sewerage treatment facilities aboard HMAS Maitland in August 2006 pumped hydrogen sulphide 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.[7][8]

Wollongong was constructed by Austal at their shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.[3] Wollongong was commissioned into the RAN at Garden Island's Oil Wharf in Sydney, New South Wales on 23 June 2007.[9][1]

Operational history

Operationally, Wollongong has spent the majority of her career on border patrol to Australia's north and north-west. The ship is assigned to Ardent Division of the Australian Patrol Boat Group, is based in Cairns, and performs border protection and fisheries protection patrols.[10]

In July 2007, the ship became the first vessel of her class to visit the port of Brisbane, Queensland.[9]

Following a request from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Wollongong was 'commanded' for a day in January 2008 by an 11-year-old.[5]

In June 2012, Wollongong was one of several ships to respond to a Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel which sank with 206 passengers while en route to Australia.[11] The patrol boat transported the 109 survivors found during the initial rescue operation to immigrant processing facilities at Christmas Island.[11]

Citations

  1. ^ a b 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 e 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. ^ a b "Nathan's wish to be a patrol boat captain for a day". Image Gallery. Department of Defence. 23 January 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  6. ^ Heron & Powell, in Australian Maritime Issues 2006, p. 131
  7. ^ a b Kerr, Patrol boats shake down fuel faults
  8. ^ a b McKenna, Gas risk remains for navy boats
  9. ^ a b Taylor, Mark (22 August 2007). "HMAS Wollongong handed over". Royal Australian Navy. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012.
  10. ^ "HMAS Wollongong (III)". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  11. ^ a b Kwek, Glenda; Coorey, Phillip (22 June 2012). "Dozens feared dead as packed asylum boat capsizes off Christmas Island". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 June 2012.

References

Books
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.
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 Wollongong

Three ships of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) have been named HMAS Wollongong, after the city of Wollongong, New South Wales

HMAS Wollongong (J172), a Bathurst-class corvette launched in 1941 and sold to the Royal Netherlands Navy in 1946

HMAS Wollongong (FCPB 206), a Fremantle-class patrol boat launched in 1981, and decommissioned in 2005

HMAS Wollongong (ACPB 92), an Armidale-class patrol boat commissioned in 2007 and active as of 2018

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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