HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156)
HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156)
|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|
|Two inherited battle honours|
|Status:||Active as of 2015|
|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)|
|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|
|Aircraft carried:||1 × S70B-2 Seahawk|
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
The Anzac class originated from RAN plans to replace the six River-class destroyer escorts with a mid-capability patrol frigate. Australian shipbuilding was thought to be incapable of warship design, so the RAN decided to take a proven foreign design and modify it. 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. Tenders were requested by the Anzac Ship Project at the end of 1986, with 12 ship designs (including an airship) submitted. 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. In 1989, the Australian government announced that Melbourne-based shipbuilder AMECON (which became Tenix Defense) would build the modified MEKO 200 design. The Australians ordered eight ships, while New Zealand ordered two, with an unexercised option for two more.
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. Each frigate has a 3,600-tonne (3,500-long-ton; 4,000-short-ton) full load displacement. 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). 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. 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. The standard ship's company of an Anzac consists of 22 officers and 141 sailors.
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). 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). 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.
Toowoomba was laid down at Williamstown, Victoria on 26 July 2002. 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. She was launched on 16 May 2003 by Judy Blight, and commissioned into the RAN on 8 October 2005.
In June 2009, Toowoomba sailed from Fleet Base West, Western Australia to embark upon the ship's second MEAO deployment. 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. 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. The frigate was also the first to operate with the counter-terrorism Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) in the Arabian Sea.
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. A Japanese P-3 Orion aircraft and a naval helicopter from the German frigate Bremen provided surveillance support while Toowoomba closed in. 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.
Toowoomba returned to Fleet Base West on 7 December 2009, having been relieved in the MEAO by HMAS Stuart. 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. 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.
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.
Toowoomba will be docked in October 2015 to undergo the Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) upgrade. The upgrade will include the fitting of CEA Technologies' CEAFAR and CEAMOUNT phased array radars on new masts, a Vampir NG Infrared Search and Track system, and Sharpeye Navigational Radar Systems, along with improvements to the operations room equipment and layout.
- Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 244
- Fairall-Lee, Miller, & Murphy, in Forbes, Sea Power, p. 336
- Grazebrook, Anzac frigates sail diverging courses
- Greener, Timing is everything, pp. 23–9
- Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 245
- Greener, Timing is everything, p. 30
- Greener, Timing is everything, p. 31
- Wertheim (ed.), The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, p. 20
- Greener, Timing is everything, pp. 43–4
- Wertheim, The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, pp. 20–1
- Sharpe (ed.), Jane's Fighting Ships 1998–99, pgs. 25, 470
- Wertheim, The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, pp. 21
- Fish & Grevatt, Australia's HMAS Toowoomba test fires MU90 torpedo
- Scott, Updating ANZACs to meet changed strategic posture
- Scott, Enhanced small-calibre systems offer shipborne stopping power
- Grevatt, Australia cancels troubled Super Seasprite programme
- Forbes, How a helicopter deal flew into trouble
- Department of Defence, HMAS Toowoomba sails for operational duties in Gulf
- RAN Website, HMAS Toowoomba welcomed home
- RAN Website, Counter-Piracy First for Toowoomba
- Cowan, Deter and disrupt
- RAN Website, Toowoomba disarms pirate threat
- International Maritime Organization, 2009 IMO Awards for Exceptional Bravery at Sea presented to a rescue swimmer and American sailors
- ABC Commercial, Pirate Patrol
- HMAS Toowoomba to star in new show, in Toowoomba Chronicle
- O'Keefe, Kathleen (1 April 2013). "Stennis Strike Group Operates in the South China Sea". NNS130407-02. USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
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)..
- McPhedran, HMAS Toowoomba diverted from asylum seeker patrols to search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 debris
- Fairall-Lee, Sam; Miller, Kate; Murphy, David (2007). "The Royal Australian Navy in 2030". In Andrew Forbes. Sea Power: Challenges Old and New. Ultimo, NSW: Halstead Press. ISBN 978-1-920831-44-8.
- Greener, Peter (2009). Timing is everything: the politics and processes of New Zealand defence acquisition decision making. Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence. No. 173. Canberra, ACT: ANU E Press. ISBN 978-1-921536-65-6. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
- Jones, Peter (2001). "A Period of Change and Uncertainty". 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.
- Sharpe, Richard, ed. (1998). Jane's Fighting Ships 1998–99 (101st ed.). Coulsdon, Surrey: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-1795-X. OCLC 39372676.
- Wertheim, Eric, ed. (2007). The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World: Their Ships, Aircraft, and Systems (15th ed.). Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-955-2. OCLC 140283156.
- 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).
- "ASMD Upgrade commences on Perth". The Navy (The Navy League of Australia) 72 (2): 16–17. April 2010.
- News articles
- Forbes, Mark (17 June 2002). "How a helicopter deal flew into trouble". The Age. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
- McPhedran, Ian (27 March 2014). "HMAS Toowoomba diverted from asylum seeker patrols to search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 debris". News.com.au. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
- "Counter-Piracy First for Toowoomba". RAN Website (Royal Australian Navy). 11 September 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
- "Toowoomba disarms pirate threat". RAN Website (Royal Australian Navy). 23 September 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
- "HMAS Toowoomba welcomed home". RAN Website (Royal Australian Navy). 7 December 2009. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- "HMAS Toowoomba to star in new show". Toowoomba Chronicle. 13 October 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
- Press releases
"HMAS Toowoomba sails for operational duties in Gulf" (Press release). Department of Defence. 4 January 2007. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
- "2009 IMO Awards for Exceptional Bravery at Sea presented to a rescue swimmer and American sailors". Press Briefings (International Maritime Organization). 24 November 2009. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
- "Pirate Patrol". Program Sales Worldwide - Catalogue. ABC Commercial. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
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