Guided Missile Frigate (FFG)

The Royal Australian Navy currently uses the Adelaide Class FFG.

The RAN originally had six of these multi-purpose warships divided between its two main bases; Fleet Base East in Sydney and Fleet Base West in Perth. There are now only four ships still in service, with HMA Ships Adelaide (II) and Canberra (II) decommissioning in recent years.

These Adelaide Class frigates are based on the US Navy Oliver Hazard Perry design. The first four ships were built in the USA with subsequent modifications undertaken in Australia. The last two were constructed in Australia with all modifications incorporated.

Each FFG ship is a long-range escort ship with roles including air defence, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance, interdiction and reconnaissance. The ship is capable of countering simultaneous threats from the air, surface and sub-surface.

These ships were the first RAN ships to be powered by gas turbine for the main propulsion and can be underway from cold in less than 30 minutes. Two forward mounted, retractable auxiliary propulsion units provide a secondary means of propulsion plus excellent manoeuvrability in confined waters.

The FFG's principal weapons are the Standard medium range anti-aircraft missile and the Harpoon anti-ship missile. A 76mm gun to counter both air and surface threats is fitted forward of the funnel and one 20mm Phalanx close-in-weapon system for anti-missile defence is located above the helicopter hangars.

For long range anti-submarine tasks, the FFG is equipped with a flight deck and hangars for two S-70B-2 Sea hawk helicopters. For close in anti-submarine defence, the ships are fitted with two Mk32 triple torpedo tubes.

The FFG's sensor package includes long range radars for air and surface surveillance, electronic warfare surveillance sensors and a medium range sonar for the detection of submarines. A computer based command and control system processes information as well as target data received by data link from other ships and aircraft.

Name Pennant Commissioned Commanding Officer
HMAS Darwin FFG 04 21 July 1984 Commander Terence Morrison
HMAS Melbourne (III) FFG 05 15 February 1992 Commander Brian Schlegel
HMAS Newcastle FFG 06 11 December 1993 Commander Dominic MacNamara
HMAS Sydney (IV) FFG 03 29 January 1983 Commander Karl Brinckmann