HMAS
Balikpapan

HMAS Balikpapan at Leutem, East Timor during Exercise Pacific Partnership 2011
Class
Balikpapan Class
Type
Role Amphibious Warfare
Pennant
L 126
Motto
Bravely In Action
Home Port
Builder
Walkers Ltd, Maryborough Queensland
Laid Down
1 May 1971
Launched
15 August 1971
Commissioned
27 September 1974
Decommissioned
12 December 2012
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 364 tonnes (loaded, 517 tonnes)
Length 44.5 metres
Beam 10.1 metres
Draught 2 metres
Performance
Speed 10 knots
Range 3000 nautical miles
Complement
Crew 13
Propulsion
Machinery 2 x Caterpiller 3406 diesels
Armament
Guns 2 x 12.7mm machinge guns
Radars Racal Decca Bridgemaster
Awards
Battle Honours EAST TIMOR 1999–2000
HMAS Balikpapan ships badge

HMAS Balikpapan (L126) was named after the final landing of the Pacific War when the RAN’s complete amphibious squadron, HMA Ships Manoora (I), Westralia (I) and Kanimbla (I), put troops of the Australian 7th Division ashore into Borneo on July 1945.

The first of eight vessels of the 311-503 tons full load Balikpapan Class LCH's were initially ordered for the Army Water Transport Units, until a Department of Defence decision in the early 1970s brought all ADF sea-going vessels under the Navy's wing, and the class was jointly manned.

All of the Australian-designed ships were built by Walkers Ltd at Maryborough in Queensland. Balikpapan, as the lead ship, was commissioned in September 1974 making her the last LCH commissioned. Preceding the Department of Defence decision, she was manned by an Army crew until late the following year.

HMAS Balikpapan was one of eight Balikpapan Class vessels operated by the Royal Australian Navy
HMAS Balikpapan was one of eight Balikpapan Class vessels operated by the Royal Australian Navy

On 5 January 1973, the eight craft were formed into the First Australian Landing Craft Squadron based at HMAS Moreton in the Brisbane River.

On 18 November 1974, two of the squadron, HMAS Buna (L132) and HMAS Salamaua (L131) were transferred to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.

HMAS Balikpapan was deployed to East Timor twice as part of the Australian-led INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce
HMAS Balikpapan conducting logistics over the shore (LOTS) operations in company with the landing ship heavy HMAS Tobruk.

Balikpapan was deployed to East Timor as part of the Australian-led INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce. The landing craft heavy was attached to INTERFET on two occasions; first from 20 September to 13 October 1999, then from 8 December 1999 to 15 January 2000. The ship was awarded the battle honour "East Timor 1999-2000" in recognition of her service. Balikpapan later operated in support of UNTAET, and was the last RAN ship to leave East Timorese waters when she sailed from Dili in August 2001.

HMAS Balikpapan (L126) was named after the final landing of the Pacific War when the RAN’s complete amphibious squadron, put troops of the Australian 7th Division ashore into Borneo on July 1945
HMAS Balikpapan (L126) was named after the final landing of the Pacific War when the RAN’s complete amphibious squadron put troops of the Australian 7th Division ashore into Borneo on July 1945

Balikpapan returned to East Timor in 2006 during Operation Astute and continues to provide ongoing support as a part of the Australian Government's response in providing assistance to the Government of Timor-Leste.

Home ported in Darwin, the ship has also been employed in some survey roles around Northern Australia.

HMAS Balikpapan was decommissioned at HMAS Coonawarra on the 12 December 2012 after almost 40 years of service moving large amounts of cargo, personnel and equipment from larger ships to shore. Her last Commanding Officer was LEUT Justine Archer.

Commanding Officer of HMAS Balikpapan, Lieutenant Justine Archer, RAN addresses dignitaries, crew, family and friends at the decommissioning ceremony
Commanding Officer of HMAS Balikpapan, Lieutenant Justine Archer, RAN addresses dignitaries, crew, family and friends at the decommissioning ceremony
Crew members onboard HMAS Balikpapan for the last time during her decommissioning ceremony
Crew members onboard HMAS Balikpapan for the last time during her decommissioning ceremony

 

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