HMAS Ipswich (FCPB 209)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMAS Ipswich.
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 & 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
  • 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 on 29 October 1980, launched on 25 September 1982, and commissioned into the RAN on 13 November 1982.[5]

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.[6] 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.[6] Footage of Ipswich at sea was mixed with scenes shot on and around sister ship HMAS Wollongong while the latter was docked in Sydney.[6]


Ipswich was decommissioned on 11 May 2007, in a joint ceremony with HMAS Townsville.[7] The two patrol boats were the last of the class in active service.[7] The patrol boat was broken up for scrap in Darwin during 2007, at a cost of $450,000 to the Australian government.[8] The patrol boat's Bofors gun was incorporated into a naval memorial cairn shaped like Ipswich‍ '​s bow in Queens Park, Ipswich.[9]


  1. ^ Mitchell, Farewell to the Fremantle class, p. 105
  2. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ Moore, Jane's Fighting Ships 1985–86, p. 26
  6. ^ a b c Rollings, Barry (2 November 2006). "Ipswich switches over". Navy News. Retrieved 30 May 2007. 
  7. ^ a b "Last of the Fremantles bow out". The Navy (Navy League of Australia) 69 (3): 28. September 2007. 
  8. ^ 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 
  9. ^ 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. 
  • Moore, John, ed. (1985). Jane's Fighting Ships 1985–86. London: Jane's Yearbooks. ISBN 0-7106-0814-4.