HMAS Wollongong (ACPB 92)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMAS Wollongong.
Career (Australia)
Namesake: City of Wollongong, New South Wales
Builder: Austal Ships, Henderson, Western Australia
Commissioned: 23 June 2007
Homeport: HMAS Cairns, Cairns
Motto: "Heed The Call"
Honours and
awards:
Six inherited battle honours
Status: Active as of 2014
Badge: Ship's badge
General characteristics
Class & 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: 1 × Rafael Typhoon stabilised gun mount fitted with a 25 mm (1 in) M242 Bushmaster autocannon
2 × 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine guns

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).

Design and construction[edit]

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 cannon.[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 sulfide 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[edit]

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[edit]

  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[edit]

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.