HMAS Ipswich (FCPB 209)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMAS Ipswich.
Career (Australia)
Namesake: City of Ipswich, Queensland
Builder: North Queensland Engineers and Agents
Laid down: 29 October 1980
Launched: 25 September 1982
Commissioned: 13 November 1982
Decommissioned: 11 May 2007
Homeport: HMAS Cairns
Motto: "Dare to Defy"
Honours and
Five inherited battle honours
Status: Scrapped
Badge: Ship's badge
General characteristics
Class and type: Fremantle class patrol boat
Displacement: 220 tons
Length: 137.6 ft (41.9 m)
Beam: 25.25 ft (7.70 m)
Draught: 5.75 ft (1.75 m)
Propulsion: 2 MTU series 538 diesel engines, 3,200 shp (2,400 kW), 2 propellers
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range: 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph)
Complement: 22
Armament: One general purpose 40/60 mm Bofors gun
Two 12.7 mm machine guns
One 81 mm mortar (removed later)

HMAS Ipswich (FCPB 209, named for the city of Ipswich, Queensland, was a Fremantle class patrol boat in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Design and construction[edit]

Starting in the late 1960s, planning began for a new class of patrol boat to replace the Attack class, with designs calling for improved seakeeping capability, and updated weapons and equipment.[1] The Fremantles had a full load displacement of 220 tonnes (220 long tons; 240 short tons), were 137.6 feet (41.9 m) long overall, had a beam of 24.25 feet (7.39 m), and a maximum draught of 5.75 feet (1.75 m).[2] Main propulsion machinery consisted of two MTU series 538 diesel engines, which supplied 3,200 shaft horsepower (2,400 kW) to the two propeller shafts.[2] Exhaust was not expelled through a funnel, like most ships, but through vents below the waterline.[3] The patrol boat could reach a maximum speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph), and had a maximum range of 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph).[2] The ship's company consisted of 22 personnel.[2] Each patrol boat was armed with a single 40 mm Bofors gun as main armament, supplemented by two .50 cal Browning machineguns and an 81-mm mortar,[2] although the mortar was removed from all ships sometime after 1988.[citation needed] The main weapon was originally to be two 30-mm guns on a twin-mount, but the reconditioned Bofors were selected to keep costs down; provision was made to install an updated weapon later in the class' service life, but this did not eventuate.[3][4]

Ipswich was laid down by the North Queensland Engineers and Agents in Cairns, Queensland[2] on 29 October 1980.[citation needed] She was commissioned into the RAN on 13 November 1982.[citation needed]

Operational history[edit]

During October and November 2006, Ipswich was the primary ship used for filming the 13-episode Australian television drama series Sea Patrol.[5] Ipswich was rebadged as the fictional HMAS Hammersley (pennant number 202), and spent six weeks operating off Dunk Island with both the show's cast and her normal crew aboard.[5] Footage of Ipswich at sea was mixed with scenes shot on and around sister ship HMAS Wollongong while the latter was docked in Sydney.[5]


Ipswich was decommissioned on 11 May 2007, in a joint ceremony with HMAS Townsville.[6] The two patrol boats were the last of the class in active service.[6] The patrol boat was broken up for scrap in Darwin during 2007, at a cost of $450,000 to the Australian government.[7] The patrol boat's Bofors gun was incorporated into a naval memorial cairn shaped like Ipswich‍ '​s bow in Queens Park, Ipswich.[8]


  1. ^ Mitchell, Farewell to the Fremantle class, p. 105
  2. ^ a b c d e f Gillett, Australian and New Zealand Warships since 1946, p. 89
  3. ^ a b Gillett, Australian and New Zealand Warships since 1946, p. 88
  4. ^ Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 222
  5. ^ a b c Rollings, Barry (2 November 2006). "Ipswich switches over". Navy News. Retrieved 30 May 2007. 
  6. ^ a b "Last of the Fremantles bow out". The Navy (Navy League of Australia) 69 (3): 28. September 2007. 
  7. ^ Australian National Audit Office (5 February 2015), Management of the Disposal of Specialist Military Equipment (Report), Government of Australia, p. 62, retrieved 24 April 2015 
  8. ^ Foley, Peter (12 April 2011). "Naval tribute nearly shipshape". The Queensland Times. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 


  • Gillett, Ross (1988). Australian and New Zealand Warships since 1946. Brookvale, NSW: Child & Associates. ISBN 0-86777-219-0. OCLC 23470364. 
  • Jones, Peter (2001). "Towards Self Reliance". In Stevens, David. The Royal Australian Navy. The Australian Centenary History of Defence (vol III). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-555542-2. OCLC 50418095. 
  • Mitchell, Brett (2007). "Farewell to the Fremantle Class". In Forbes, Andrew & Lovi, Michelle. Australian Maritime Issues 2006 (PDF). Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs (19). Sea Power Centre - Australia. ISBN 0-642-29644-8. ISSN 1327-5658. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
    • The chapter is available separately as Semaphore, Issue 17, 2005 in PDF and HTML formats.
  • "HMAS Ipswich". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 2010-05-31.