HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMAS Toowoomba.
HMAS Toowoomba FFH-156 Gulf of Oman Nov 2009.jpg
HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156)
Career (Australia)
Namesake: City of Toowoomba
Builder: Tenix Defence Systems
Laid down: 26 July 2002
Launched: 16 May 2003
Commissioned: 8 October 2005
Homeport: Fleet Base West
Motto: "Fearless"
Honours and
awards:
Two inherited battle honours
Status: Active as of 2014
General characteristics
Class & type: Anzac class frigate
Displacement: 3,600 tonnes full load
Length: 118 m (387 ft)
Beam: 15 m (49 ft)
Draught: 4 m (13 ft)
Propulsion: 1 × General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine providing 30,000 hp (22.5 mW)
2 × MTU 12v 1163 TB83 diesels providing 8,840 hp (6.5 mW)
Speed: 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph)
Range: 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement: approximately 170 sailors
Sensors and
processing systems:
Sonars: Thomson Sintra Spherion B Mod 5; hull-mounted; active search and attack; medium frequency. Provision for towed array
Air search radar: Raytheon AN/SPS-49(V)8 ANZ (C/D-band)
Surface search radar: CelsiusTech 9LV 453 TIR (Ericsson Tx/Rx) (G-band)
Navigation: Atlas Elektronik 9600 ARPA (I-band)
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
ESM: Racal modified Sceptre A (radar intercept), Telefunken PST-1720 Telegon 10 (comms intercept)
Countermeasures: Decoys: G & D Aircraft SRBOC Mk 36 Mod 1 decoy launchers for SRBOC
Armament: Guns and missiles: 1 × 5 in/54 (127 mm) Mk 45 Mod 2 gun, various machine guns and small arms, 2 × 4 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Mk 41 Mod 5 VLS for Sea Sparrow and Evolved Sea Sparrow
Torpedoes: 2 × triple 324 mm Mk 32 Mod 5 tubes
Fire control: CelsiusTech 9LV 453 (J-band)
Combat data systems: CelsiusTech 9LV 453 Mk 3.Link 11
Weapons control: CelsiusTech 9LV 453 optronic director with Raytheon CW Mk 73 Mod 1
Aircraft carried: 1 × S70B-2 Seahawk

HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156) is the seventh Anzac class frigate of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was laid down in 2002 by Tenix Defence Systems and commissioned in 2005.

In 2007, Toowoomba was deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Slipper. Her second deployment to the Middle East occurred during the second half of 2009. As part of this, she became the first RAN vessel to operate with the counter-piracy Combined Task Force 151.

Design and construction[edit]

Main article: Anzac class frigate

The Anzac class originated from RAN plans to replace the six River class destroyer escorts with a mid-capability patrol frigate.[1][2][3] Australian shipbuilding was thought to be incapable of warship design, so the RAN decided to take a proven foreign design and modify it.[1][3] Around the same time, the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) was looking to replace four Leander class frigates; a deterioration in New Zealand-United States relations, the need to improve alliances with nearby nations, and the commonalities between the RAN and RNZN ships' requirements led the two nations to begin collaborating on the acquisition in 1987.[4][5] Tenders were requested by the Anzac Ship Project at the end of 1986, with 12 ship designs (including an airship) submitted.[1][6] By August 1987, the tenders were narrowed down in October to Blohm + Voss's MEKO 200 design, the M class (later Karel Doorman class) offered by Royal Schelde, and a scaled-down Type 23 frigate proposed by Yarrow Shipbuilders.[5][7] In 1989, the Australian government announced that Melbourne-based shipbuilder AMECON (which became Tenix Defense) would build the modified MEKO 200 design.[3][5][7] The Australians ordered eight ships, while New Zealand ordered two, with an unexercised option for two more.[8][9]

The Anzacs are based on Blohm + Voss' MEKO 200 PN (or Vasco da Gama class) frigates, modified to meet Australian and New Zealand specifications and maximise the use of locally built equipment.[10][3] Each frigate has a 3,600-tonne (3,500-long-ton; 4,000-short-ton) full load displacement.[11] The ships are 109 metres (358 ft) long at the waterline, and 118 metres (387 ft) long overall, with a beam of 14.8 metres (49 ft), and a full load draught of 4.35 metres (14.3 ft).[11] A Combined Diesel or Gas (CODOG) propulsion machinery layout is used, with a single, 30,172-horsepower (22,499 kW) General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbine and two 8,840-horsepower (6,590 kW) MTU 12V1163 TB83 diesel engines driving the ship's two controllable-pitch propellers.[11][3] Maximum speed is 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph), and maximum range is over 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph); about 50% greater than other MEKO 200 designs.[11][3][12] The standard ship's company of an Anzac consists of 22 officers and 141 sailors.[11]

As designed, the main armament for the frigate is a 5-inch 54 calibre Mark 45 gun, supplemented by an eight-cell Mark 41 vertical launch system (for RIM-7 Sea Sparrow or RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles), two 12.7-millimetre (0.50 in) machine guns, and two Mark 32 triple torpedo tube sets (initially firing Mark 46 torpedoes, but later upgraded to use the MU90 Impact torpedo).[11][3][13] They were also designed for but not with a close-in weapons system (two Mini Typhoons fitted when required from 2005 onwards), two quad-canister Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers (which were installed across the RAN vessels from 2005 onwards), and a second Mark 41 launcher (which has not been added).[3][14][15] The Australian Anzacs use a Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter; plans to replace them with Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprites were cancelled in 2008 due to ongoing problems.[3][16][17]

Toowoomba was laid down at Williamstown, Victoria on 26 July 2002.[8] The ship was assembled from six hull modules and six superstructure modules; the superstructure modules were fabricated in Whangarei, New Zealand, and hull modules were built at both Williamstown and Newcastle, New South Wales, with final integration at Williamstown.[3] She was launched on 16 May 2003 by Judy Blight, and commissioned into the RAN on 8 October 2005.[8]

Operational history[edit]

Toowoomba hit a navigation marker off Gladstone in March 2006 and was repaired at Williamstown, Victoria.[citation needed]

Bow view of Toowoomba during her deployment to the MEAO in 2009

Toowoomba began her first deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) as part of Operation Slipper on 4 January 2007.[18]

On 18 June 2008, the frigate became the first RAN warship to fire an MU90 Impact anti-submarine torpedo, after they replaced the American Mark 46 anti-submarine torpedoes originally fitted.[13]

In June 2009, Toowoomba sailed from Fleet Base West, Western Australia to embark upon the ship's second MEAO deployment.[19] In September, the frigate was assigned to Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151); Toowoomba was the first Australian warship to work with CTF-151, a US-led, multinational force tasked with protecting merchant vessels from pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia.[20] Toowoomba was assigned to escort merchant shipping and conduct overt patrols in the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), a shipping lane extending the Gulf of Aden towards the Somali Basin and the Horn of Africa, in support of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1846 and 1851.[20] The frigate was also the first[citation needed] to operate with the counter-terrorism Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) in the Arabian Sea.[19]

On 20 September 2009, Toowoomba responded to a call for assistance from the merchant vessel BBC Portugal, and successfully prevented an act of high-seas piracy.[21][22] A Japanese P-3 Orion aircraft and a naval helicopter from the German frigate Bremen provided surveillance support while Toowoomba closed in.[21][22] A boarding party from Toowoomba confiscated several weapons from the attackers, including a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, six AK-47 assault rifles, and a G3 assault rifle, before the skiff was directed to leave the IRTC.[21][22]

Toowoomba returned to Fleet Base West on 7 December 2009, having been relieved in the MEAO by HMAS Stuart.[19] The ship and her company were awarded with a "Certificate for Exceptional Services Rendered to Shipping and Mankind" by the International Maritime Organization in November 2009.[23] The deployment is the subject of Australian Pirate Patrol, a four-episode documentary series produced by Prospero Productions, and first aired on the National Geographic Channel on 18 October 2010.[24][25]

In early April 2013, Toowoomba operated with the U.S. Navy's Carrier Strike Group Three in the South China Sea.[26]

In late March 2014, Toowoomba was pulled from asylum seeker patrols and directed to join the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, allowing HMAS Success to return to port for replenishment.[27]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 244
  2. ^ Fairall-Lee, Miller, & Murphy, in Forbes, Sea Power, p. 336
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Grazebrook, Anzac frigates sail diverging courses
  4. ^ Greener, Timing is everything, pp. 23–9
  5. ^ a b c Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 245
  6. ^ Greener, Timing is everything, p. 30
  7. ^ a b Greener, Timing is everything, p. 31
  8. ^ a b c Wertheim (ed.), The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, p. 20
  9. ^ Greener, Timing is everything, pp. 43–4
  10. ^ Wertheim, The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, pp. 20–1
  11. ^ a b c d e f Sharpe (ed.), Jane's Fighting Ships 1998–99, pgs. 25, 470
  12. ^ Wertheim, The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, pp. 21
  13. ^ a b Fish & Grevatt, Australia's HMAS Toowoomba test fires MU90 torpedo
  14. ^ Scott, Updating ANZACs to meet changed strategic posture
  15. ^ Scott, Enhanced small-calibre systems offer shipborne stopping power
  16. ^ Grevatt, Australia cancels troubled Super Seasprite programme
  17. ^ Forbes, How a helicopter deal flew into trouble
  18. ^ Department of Defence, HMAS Toowoomba sails for operational duties in Gulf
  19. ^ a b c RAN Website, HMAS Toowoomba welcomed home
  20. ^ a b RAN Website, Counter-Piracy First for Toowoomba
  21. ^ a b c Cowan, Deter and disrupt
  22. ^ a b c RAN Website, Toowoomba disarms pirate threat
  23. ^ International Maritime Organization, 2009 IMO Awards for Exceptional Bravery at Sea presented to a rescue swimmer and American sailors
  24. ^ ABC Commercial, Pirate Patrol
  25. ^ HMAS Toowoomba to star in new show, in Toowoomba Chronicle
  26. ^ Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Kathleen O'Keefe, USN (April 1, 2013). "Stennis Strike Group Operates in the South China Sea". NNS130407-02. USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs. Retrieved 2013-04-07. "The strike group also participated in theater security cooperation exercises with ships from nations who are equally committed to this region including the Royal Navy frigate HMS Monmouth (F 235), the French destroyer FS Chevalier Paul (D621), and the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156).." 
  27. ^ McPhedran, HMAS Toowoomba diverted from asylum seeker patrols to search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 debris

References[edit]

Books
Journal articles
  • Cowan, Gerrard (9 November 2009). "Deter and disrupt: NATO in the Gulf of Aden". Jane's Defence Weekly (Jane's Information Group). 
  • Fish, Tim; Grevatt, Jon (24 June 2008). "Australia's HMAS Toowoomba test fires MU90 torpedo". Jane's Navy International (Jane's Information Group). 
  • Grazebrook, A.W. (1 November 1996). "Anzac frigates sail diverging courses". Jane's Navy International (Jane's Information Group) 101 (009). 
  • Jon, Grevatt (5 March 2008). "Australia cancels troubled Super Seasprite programme". Jane's Defence Industry (Jane's Information Group). 
  • Scott, Richard (16 December 2005). "Updating ANZACs to meet changed strategic posture". Jane's Navy International (Jane's Information Group). 
  • Scott, Richard (12 December 2007). "Enhanced small-calibre systems offer shipborne stopping power". International Defence Review (Jane's Information Group). 
News articles
Press releases

"HMAS Toowoomba sails for operational duties in Gulf" (Press release). Department of Defence. 4 January 2007. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 

Websites
  • "Pirate Patrol". Program Sales Worldwide - Catalogue. ABC Commercial. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 

External links[edit]