Todd Pacific Shipyard Corporation, Seattle
3 July 1981
26 March 1982
21 July 1984
|Dimensions & Displacement|
|Range||4,500 nautical miles|
|Torpedoes||6 x Mk 32 (2 triple) tubes|
|Combat Data Systems||ADACS. OE-2 SATCOM; Link 11. Link 16.|
|Weapon Control Systems||
HMAS Darwin is a long-range escort frigate that undertakes roles including area air defence, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction. The ship is capable of countering simultaneous threats from the air, surface and sub-surface.
Darwin and her five sister frigates HMA Ships Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle were the first Royal Australian Navy ships to be powered by gas turbines for its main propulsion. This, combined with a modern repair by replacement policy, has allowed both a reduced complement and a high availability for sea. Darwin can be underway from cold in 30 minutes. In addition, two forward mounted retractable auxiliary propulsion units provide a secondary means of propulsion plus excellent manoeuvrability in confined waters.
Darwin's principal weapons are the Standard medium range anti-aircraft missile and Harpoon anti-ship missile, both of which are launched from the Mk 13 launcher on the forecastle. A 76 mm gun to counter both aircraft and surface threats is fitted forward of the funnel and one 20 mm Phalanx close-in weapon system for anti-missile defence is located above the helicopter hangars.
For long range anti-submarine tasks, Darwin is equipped with a flight deck and hangars for two Seahawk helicopters. The Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk is an all weather, twin engine, 3 crew helicopter. Its primary role is Undersea Warfare for which it carries a range of sonobuoys and can deliver up to two torpedoes. Other roles include over the horizon targeting, surveillance, boarding support, Search and Rescue (SAR) and utility operations. Its sensors include Radar, Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) and a Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD). For close-in anti-submarine defence the ship is fitted with two Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes.
The ship's sensor package includes long range radars for air and surface surveillance, electronic warfare surveillance sensors and the Australian Nulka Anti-Ship Missile Defence system. Darwin is also fitted with the Electro Optical Tracking System (EOTS) with combined optical and infra-red sensors for detection and tracking. An Australian software based command and control system processes information as well as target data linked from other ships and aircraft.
HMAS Darwin together with her sister ship Sydney have been deployed to the Persian Gulf a record five times in 1990, 1991, 1992, 2002 and 2004. Darwin was deployed to East Timor (Timor-Leste) in 1999 and was also involved in operations in the Solomon Islands in 2001.
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