HMAS Brunei (L 127)

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HMAS Brunei in 2009
HMAS Brunei in 2009
Career (Australia)
Namesake: Landings at Brunei Bay (Battle of North Borneo)
Builder: Walkers Limited (Maryborough, Queensland)
Laid down: 9 August 1971
Launched: 8 October 1971
Commissioned: 5 January 1973
Decommissioned: 20 November 2014
Homeport: HMAS Cairns
Motto: "Attempt to Attain"
Honours and
awards:
Battle honours:
East Timor 1999–2000
Fate: Awaiting transfer to Philippine Navy
Badge: Ship's badge
Career (Philippines)
Acquired: May 2015 (planned)
General characteristics
Class and 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) was a Balikpapan-class heavy landing craft operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). One of eight vessels built by Walkers Limited, Brunei (named after the amphibious landings at Brunei Bay, part of the Battle of North Borneo in World War II) entered RAN service in 1973. During the vessel's career, Brunei visited Lord Howe Island, was deployed post-Cyclone Tracy as part of Operation Navy Help Darwin, performed coastal surveys of northern Australia and Papua New Guinea, and served as part of the INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce. Brunei was decommissioned from Australian service in 2014, and is to be transferred to the Philippine Navy in 2015.

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, or embark 60 soldiers in six-berth caravans for longer voyages.[3][4] 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.[5]

Operational history[edit]

In April 1974, Brunei, Buna, and Betano transited to Lord Howe Island as a demonstration of the Balikpanan class' oceangoing capabilities.[6]

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.[7] Brunei sailed from Brisbane on 27 December, and arrived on 13 January 1975.[7]

From 1985 to 1988, Brunei and Betano were assigned to the Australian Hydrographic Office and operated as survey ships in the waters of northern Australian and Papua New Guinea.[6]

Brunei was deployed to East Timor as part of the Australian-led INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce during 1999 and 2000.[8] 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.[8] The ship was later awarded the battle honour "East Timor 1999–2000" for these deployments.[9][10] Brunei also operated in support of UNTAET between 2000 and 2002.[11]

In 2006, Brunei visited Lord Howe Island for the 75th anniversary of the first solo Australia to New Zealand flight by Sir Francis Chichester.[6]

Decommissioning[edit]

Brunei, along with Labuan and Tarakan, were decommissioned on 20 November 2014.[12]

Brunei and Tarakan are to be refurbished and fitted with new safety and navigation equipment.[13] On completion (planned by May 2015), the two vessels will be donated to the Philippine Navy.[13]

Citations[edit]

  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. ^ "Balikpapan Class Heavy Landing Craft (LCH), Australia". Naval Technology. 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Swinden, Heavy Lifting for Four Decades, p. 20
  6. ^ a b c Swinden, Heavy Lifting for Four Decades, p. 22
  7. ^ a b Sea Power Centre, Disaster Relief
  8. ^ a b Stevens, Strength Through Diversity, p. 15
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ "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. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Staples, Natalie (20 November 2014). "Final farewell for landing craft". Navy Daily (Royal Australian Navy). Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Fonbuena, Carmela (29 January 2015). "Australia's gift to PH Navy: 2 supply ships". Rapller. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 

References[edit]

Books
Journal articles