HMAS Brunei (L 127)

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HMAS Brunei in 2009
HMAS Brunei in 2009
Career (Australia)
Builder: Walkers Limited (Maryborough, Queensland)
Laid down: 9 August 1971
Launched: 8 October 1971
Commissioned: 5 January 1973
Homeport: HMAS Cairns
Motto: "Attempt to Attain"
Honours and
Battle honours:
East Timor 1999-2000
Status: Active as of 2014
Badge: Ship's badge
General characteristics
Class & type: Balikpapan class landing craft heavy
Displacement: 316 tons
Length: 44.5 m (146 ft)
Beam: 10.1 m (33 ft)
Propulsion: Two GE diesels
Speed: 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph)
Capacity: 180 tons of vehicle cargo or 400 soldiers
Complement: 13
Armament: 2 × 0.50 inch machine guns

HMAS Brunei (L 127) is a Balikpapan class heavy landing craft operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Design and construction[edit]

The eight-vessel Balikpapan class was ordered as a locally-manufactured replacement for the Australian Army's LSM-1 class landing ship medium and ALC 50 landing craft.[1] They are 44.5 metres (146 ft) long, with a beam of 10.1 metres (33 ft), and a draught of 1.9 metres (6 ft 3 in).[2] The landing craft have a standard displacement of 316 tons, with a full load displacement of 503 tons.[2] They are propelled by two G.M. Detroit 6-71 diesel motors, providing 675 brake horsepower to the two propeller shafts, allowing the vessels to reach 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph).[2] The standard ship's company is 13-strong.[2] The Balikpapans are equipped with a Decca RM 916 navigational radar, and fitted with two 7.62 millimetres (0.300 in) machine guns for self-defence.[2]

The LCHs have a maximum payload of 180 tons; equivalent to 3 Leopard 1 tanks, 13 M113 armoured personnel carriers 23 quarter-tonne trucks, or four LARC-V amphibious cargo vehicles.[2][3] As a troop transport, a Balikpapan class vessel can transport up to 400 soldiers between a larger amphibious ship and the shore,[citation needed] or embark 60 soldiers[citation needed] in six-berth caravans for longer voyages.[3] The vessel's payload affects the range: at 175 tons of cargo, each vessel has a range of 1,300 nautical miles (2,400 km; 1,500 mi), which increases to 2,280 nautical miles (4,220 km; 2,620 mi) with a 150-ton payload, and 3,000 nautical miles (5,600 km; 3,500 mi) when unladen.[2] The flat, box-like keel causes the ships to roll considerably in other-than-calm conditions, limiting their ability to make long voyages.[3]

Brunei was laid down by Walkers Limited at Maryborough, Queensland on 9 August 1971, launched on 8 October 1971, and commissioned on 5 January 1973.[4]

Operational history[edit]

In April 1974, Brunei, Buna, and Betano transited to Lord Howe Island as a demonstration of the Balikpanan class' oceangoing capabilities.[5]

Following the destruction of Darwin by Cyclone Tracy during the night of 24-25 December 1974, Brunei was deployed as part of the relief effort; Operation Navy Help Darwin.[6] Brunei sailed from Brisbane on 27 December, and arrived on 13 January 1975.[6]

From 1985 to 1988, Brunei and Betano were assigned to the Australian Hydrographic Officer and operated as survey ships in the waters of northern Australian and Papua New Guinea.[5]

Brunei was deployed to East Timor as part of the Australian-led INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce during 1999 and 2000.[7] She was attached to INTERFET on three occasions; 20 September to 17 November 1999, 8 December 1999 to 15 January 2000, and 15 to 23 February 2000.[7] The ship was later awarded the battle honour "East Timor 1999-2000" for these deployments.[8][9] Brunei also operated in support of UNTAET between 2000 and 2002.[10]

In 2006, Brunei visited Lord Howe Island for the 75th anniversary of the first solo Australia to New Zealand flight by Sir Francis Chichester.[5]


  1. ^ Gillett, Australian and New Zealand Warships since 1946, pgs 79, 125
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Wertheim (ed.), The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, p. 26
  3. ^ a b c Gillett, Australian and New Zealand Warships since 1946, p. 79
  4. ^ Swinden, Heavy Lifting for Four Decades, p. 20
  5. ^ a b c Swinden, Heavy Lifting for Four Decades, p. 22
  6. ^ a b Sea Power Centre, Disaster Relief
  7. ^ a b Stevens, Strength Through Diversity, p. 15
  8. ^ "Navy Marks 109th Birthday With Historic Changes To Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  10. ^ Oldham, Charles, ed. (2011). 100 Years of the Royal Australian Navy. Bondi Junction, NSW: Faircount Media Group. p. 83. OCLC 741711418. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 


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