HMAS
Darwin Part Three

HMAS Darwin
Class
Adelaide Class
Type
Guided Missile Frigate (FFG)
Pennant
FFG 04
International Callsign
VKDA
Motto
Resurgent
Builder
Todd Pacific Shipyards Corporation, Seattle, Washington, USA
Laid Down
3 July 1981
Launched
26 March 1982
Launched by
Mrs Joan Johnston, C St J
Commissioned
21 July 1984
Decommissioned
9 December 2017
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 4267 tonnes
Length 138.10 metres
Beam 13.7 metres
Draught 4.5 metres
Performance
Speed 29 knots
Range 4500 nautical miles
Complement
Crew 200
Propulsion
Machinery
  • 2 General Electric LM 2500 gas turbines
  • 2 auxiliary electric propulsion units
Horsepower 40,000
Armament
Missiles
  • Harpoon Block 2 anti-ship missiles
  • Standard SM-2 Block IIIA anti-aircraft missiles
  • Mk 41 VLS launcher
Guns
  • 1 x OTO Melara 3 in (76 mm)/62 US Mk 75
  • 1 x 20 mm Mk 15 Vulcan Phalanx anti-missile system
  • 6 x 12.7 mm machine guns
  • 2 x Rafael Mini-Typhoon 12.7 mm remote-controlled guns (for selected deployments)
Torpedoes 6 x Mk 32 (2 triple) torpedo tubes
Physical Countermeasures
  • 4x Loral Hycor SRBOC Mk 36 or TERMA SKWS
  • 2 x Rafael long-range chaff rocket launchers
  • LESCUT torpedo countermeasures
Electronic Countermeasures
  • Elbit EA-2118 jammer
  • Rafael C-Pearl
Radars
  • Raytheon SPS-49A(V)1
  • ISC Cardion SPS-55
  • Lockheed SPG-60
  • Sperry Mk 92 Mod 12
Sonars
  • Thales Spherion (TMS 4131)
  • Petrel (TMS 5424) mine avoidance
  • Albatros (TMS 4350) towed-array torpedo warning system
Combat Data Systems ADACS OE-2 SATCOM; Link 11. Link 16.
Weapon Control Systems
  • Sperry Mk 92 Mod 12 gun and missile control
  • Radamec 2500 optronic director with TV, laser and IR imager
Awards
Battle Honours
HMAS Darwin Badge

HMAS Darwin Part Two

The new year saw Darwin taking part in the usual pattern of exercises, training and maintenance that follows a Christmas leave period.

She visited the east coast in February and March 2000 before proceeding to New Zealand to participate in the RNZN’s Fleet Concentration Period. She then returned to Sydney on 24 March and Stirling on the 31 March having conducted a further Operation ESTES patrol enroute.

On 14 August Darwin left Fleet Base West to participate in Exercise SINGAROO before deploying to Asian waters at the end of the month. There she visited ports in Thailand where she took part in Exercise AUSTHAI, Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, Japan where she took part in Exercise GOODWILLEX, and the Philippines. Passage exercises with naval units from the Republic of Korea were also conducted before she returned to Stirling, having assisted the Australian Customs Service with surveillance operations near Christmas Island, on 4 November.

2001

Darwin returned to Asian waters in February 2001 where she visited Singapore before proceeding on to Mumbai as Australia’s representative at the Indian Navy’s International Fleet Review celebrating India’s 50 years as a republic. The event was held over five days with the review itself being conducted on 17 February and involving 80 ships from 16 nations. She departed Mumbai on 20 February and conducted passage exercises with warships from South Africa, France, the USA and Kenya. She went on to visit Phuket, Lumut and Christmas Island, and returned to Stirling on 16 March.

April saw Darwin participate in the submarine escape and rescue Exercise BLACK CARILLON but her participation in Exercise TANDEM THRUST was cancelled when she received notification that she was to deploy to the Solomon Islands in support of Operation TREK, the ADF’s support for an International Peace Monitoring Team. Enroute she visited Melbourne for the city’s Centenary of Federation celebrations in May before continuing on to Jervis Bay and Sydney. On 10 May Darwin deployed from Sydney for the Solomon Islands arriving in the Area of Operations four days later and immediately commencing maritime security patrol operations. She was relieved by HMAS Kanimbla (II) on 15 June and arrived in Darwin on the 20th where the ship’s company exercised their right to Freedom of Entry two days later. She returned to Fleet Base West on 29 June where she entered a leave and maintenance period. Darwin finished the year undertaking post-refit trials.

2002

In February 2002 Darwin proceeded to Tasmania to participate in the Royal Hobart Regatta where she assumed duties as the Official Visit Ship after HMAS Melbourne (III) developed an engineering defect. On completion she joined exercises taking place off the east coast in preparation for assignment to Operation RELEX II. She returned to Stirling at the end of March before beginning RELEX operations in the vicinity of Christmas Island on 6 April with an Army Transit Security Element (TSE) embarked.

Tragedy struck Darwin on 4 May when, during a routine departmental muster, Leading Seaman Cameron Gurr was reported missing. A search of the frigate failed to locate him and a maritime search and rescue operation was quickly initiated. Over the ensuing six days the search was joined by HMAS Westralia (II), RAAF P3C patrol aircraft, Coastwatch DASH 8 surveillance aircraft, and Australian Federal Police and Australian Customs Service personnel. No trace of the missing sailor was found and the search and rescue operation was reluctantly ceased on 10 May. It was a sombre ship’s company that returned to Darwin at the end of the month where a memorial service was convened for their missing shipmate.

Darwin resumed RELEX II operations until 13 June when she was relieved by HMAS Adelaide (II) after which time she returned to Fleet Base West.

Operation SLIPPER Rotation IV

During deployment to the Persian Gulf from its homeport at Garden Island, WA, HMAS Darwin’s Sonar Dome was holed and needed urgent repairs (reported as an urgent defect ‘URDEF'), which slowed down the ship’s arrival in the Operation SLIPPER area of operations in the Gulf. After several days of frustration regarding the defect and communications regarding the options for its repair, the Commanding Officer (CO), Commander Aaron Ingram, RAN was heard to say one morning, ‘I’m going to my cabin to kick the ship’s cat!'. While emergency repairs were carried out at the port Fujairah, in the United Arab Emirates, Darwin's Flight Commander, Lieutenant Commander Marc Pavillard, and Weapons Electrical and Engineering Officer, Lieutenant Commander Adam Gilbert purchased a large stuffed lion and presented it to the CO as the ship's cat. Named 'URDEF', the lion wears his owner's medal ribbons, and remained on board Darwin from November 2002 to December 2003 when Ingram was posted off the ship.

'URDEF' the stuffed lion. (AWM REL31787)
'URDEF' the stuffed lion. (AWM REL31787)

In August Darwin (Commander Aaron Ingram, CSC, RAN) began making preparations to return to the Middle East under the auspices of Operation SLIPPER. She departed Fleet Base West in company with HMAS Anzac (III) on 28 October and entered the MEAO on 10 November. Darwin and Anzac operated as Task Group 627.1 primarily close off-shore patrolling the Northern Arabian Gulf looking for smugglers and monitoring Iraqi naval activity, south east of the Al Faw Peninsula. These patrols saw them operate near the disputed boundary between Iraq and Iran, an area of heightened tension and one where smuggler traffic could be high leading to long periods of frenetic activity.

On 8 November 2002, the UNSC adopted Resolution 1441, affording Iraq a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations, and three weeks later the United Nations Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission resumed inspections. Meanwhile the Iraqi Navy resumed a pattern of PB-90 patrols. Multi-national Interception Force units, including Anzac and Darwin, shadowed the patrol boat operations as necessary, carefully watching to ensure that they posed no threat.

2003 - Operation BASTILLE

USNS Rainier and HMAS Darwin conducted multiple replenishments during January 2003.
USNS Rainier and HMAS Darwin conducted multiple replenishments during January 2003.
 

Operation BASTILLE, the pre-deployment of additional ADF assets to the MEAO in support of potential future operations began on 19 January 2003. It was designed to add to the pressure on the Iraqi regime, while ensuring that Australian forces were prepared should a diplomatic solution not be found. In 2003 HMAS Kanimbla joined Darwin and Anzac entering the MEAO on 15 February. The high operational tempo resulted in lengthening periods between port visits for Anzac and Darwin and sustainment issues placed additional pressure on the two ships.

On Australia Day 2003, members of Darwin’s ship's company played a cricket team from the US Naval Station at Bahrain. Another game was played against a local team from Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates. In this match, despite a gift from the opposing team of a hundred further runs, the Darwin team’s total of 85 runs was not enough to win the match. 

Left: Navigator Lieutenant Josh Wilson was the highest Australian scorer in this match with 35 runs and was awarded this cap for his efforts. (AWM REL31417) Right: The cricket bat and parts of the handle are covered with slogans, signatures, etc written in black felt pen after the match. (AWM REL31416)
Left: Navigator Lieutenant Josh Wilson was the highest Australian scorer in this match with 35 runs and was awarded this cap for his efforts. (AWM REL31417) Right: The cricket bat and parts of the handle are covered with slogans, signatures, etc written in black felt pen after the match. (AWM REL31416)
 
An aerial view of HMAS Darwin and USS Rainier during a replenishment at sea while on station, 9 February 2003.
An aerial view of HMAS Darwin and USS Rainier during a replenishment at sea while on station, 9 February 2003.

As the diplomatic situation deteriorated, attempted breakouts by smugglers increased. By 13 March Darwin had conducted 300 boarding operations. Maritime activity reached its peak on 17 March, the day before the commencement of the Second Gulf War, when more than 50 cargo dhows exited the Khawr Abd Allah waterway that afternoon refusing to turn back. Darwin, with the intention of removing as many non-combatants as possible, as combat operations appeared imminent, assumed the duties of Scene of Action Commander and, with Anzac, HMS Marlborough, USS Chinook and USCG Ships Wrangell and Adak, coordinated the herding, anchoring, boarding, inspection and clearance of these vessels overnight. This marked the beginning of a mass exodus of vessels from the area over the next few days as the prospect of war loomed.

Operation FALCONER

Left: Patch worn by members of the Operations Room Crew aboard Darwin during the war on Iraq, 2003. Middle: Mascot of Australian children’s television character ‘Agro’ carried by the embarked Sikorsky S-70B Seahawks helicopter aboard Darwin during the war on Iraq 2003. The mascot, along with a Fosters beer mat, were displayed on the dash of the helicopter, to ensure that no confusion existed as to the nationality of the crew. The Seahawk itself was known among Coalition units as ‘Agro’.
Left: Patch worn by members of the Operations Room Crew aboard Darwin during Gulf War II, 2003. (AWM REL31423) Centre: Australian children’s television character ‘Agro’, the mascot carried by the embarked Sikorsky S-70B Seahawks helicopter aboard Darwin during the Gulf War 2003. The mascot, along with a Fosters beer mat, were displayed on the dash of the helicopter, to ensure that no confusion existed as to the nationality of the crew. The Seahawk itself was known among Coalition units as ‘Agro’. (AWM REL31418) Right: Woven cloth patch worn by members of the Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk 'Agro' helicopter flight embarked aboard Darwin during the Gulf War, 2003. (AWM REL31422)

Operation FALCONER, the Australian commitment to the 2003 Gulf War, began on 18 March 2003, and combat operations commenced on the night of 19-20 March. Darwin’s initial responsibilities continued to be the assembly, boarding and searching of vessels departing the area. She dispatched her embarked explosive ordnance disposal detachment to HMAS Kanimbla on 21 March following reports that Iraqi minelayers had been intercepted operating in the mouth of the Khawr Abd Allah. The following day she commenced patrol operations in the approaches to the waterway after confirmation that it had been cleared of civilian traffic, and provided force protection to Coalition vessels in Kuwaiti waters. Her responsibilities later changed to ensure that only legitimate fishing dhows and cargo vessels carrying humanitarian aid entered the Khawr Abd Allah.


The board used to play the game 'Uckers' by the boatswains (bosuns) of HMAS Darwin during the deployment 2002/2003. While the naval term to 'uck' means to move or shift out of the way, the actual game of Uckers derives from Parchesi, an ancient and traditional Indian game adapted by the west and now known popularly as Ludo. The objective for a team is to move their four tokens around the board from 'Base' to 'Home' before the opposition does. Uckers has developed its own variations on Ludo - two dice are used instead of one; the playing pieces are traditionally made from expended ammunition casings (the RAN preference is for .50 calibre casings), painted appropriately and weighted (to counter for the ship's roll); the two diagonally opposite players team up; and utilises the concepts of a 'blob' barrier (where two or more players are on the same square) and the 'suck back' and 'blow back' rule, whereby squares can be skipped and the opposition blocked. The game is described as boisterous - traditionally the losers offered their rum rations to the winners. (AWM REL31420)
 
Left: A naval band at Victoria Quay, Fremantle, WA, welcomes home HMAS Anzac and HMAS Darwin. (P04192.003)<br />
Centre: General Peter Cosgrove, AC MC, Chief of the Defence Force; Senator Robert Hill, Minister for Defence; and the Prime Minister, John Howard, watch on from the quayside at Victoria Quay, Fremantle, as HMAS Anzac and HMAS Darwin return from the Persian Gulf and Iraq on 17 May 2003. (P04192.028) Right: VADM Chris Ritchie, Chief of Navy, gives a speech at the homecoming. (P041192.093)
Left: A naval band plays on the quayside at Victoria Quay, Fremantle, WA to welcome home HMAS Anzac and HMAS Darwin. (P04192.003) Centre: General Peter Cosgrove, AC MC, Chief of the Defence Force; Senator Robert Hill, Minister for Defence; and the Prime Minister, John Howard, watch on from the quayside at Victoria Quay, Fremantle, as HMAS Anzac and HMAS Darwin return from the Persian Gulf and Iraq on 17 May 2003. (P04192.028) Right: Vice Admiral Chris Ritchie, Chief of Navy, gives a speech at the homecoming. (P041192.093)
Left: PO James MacKenzie walks with his son past Darwin at a homecoming ceremony for Anzac and Darwin at Victoria Quay, 17 May 2003. (P04192.133) Centre: Able Seaman Marine Technician Shane Rowe from HMAS Darwin kisses his girlfriend Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Aeron Cornelius (previously of Darwin but posted off before the deployment) at the homecoming ceremony. (P04192.149) Right: An unidentified Leading Seaman from HMAS Darwin is reunited with relatives at the homecoming ceremony. (P04192.149)
Left: PO James MacKenzie walks with his son past Darwin at a homecoming ceremony for Anzac and Darwin at Victoria Quay, 17 May 2003. (P04192.133) Centre: Able Seaman Marine Technician Shane Rowe from HMAS Darwin kisses his girlfriend Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Aeron Cornelius (previously of Darwin but posted off before the deployment) at the homecoming ceremony. (P04192.149) Right: An unidentified Leading Seaman from HMAS Darwin is reunited with relatives at the homecoming ceremony. (P04192.149)

Darwin departed the patrol area on 19 April and, following a port visit to Jebel Ali, left the MEAO three days later. Darwin berthed at Victoria Quay, Fremantle, WA on 17 May, with HMAS Anzac, to a huge crowd of families and friends. She arrived back home at Stirling after a cold move from Fremantle on 19 May, via Port Victoria, Diego Garcia and Fremantle, and commenced a maintenance and leave period. More than 100 members of the ship’s company took part in a welcome home parade in Perth on 20 June.

Darwin returned to sea on 13 August to commence Operations RELEX II and CRANBERRY taskings in the vicinity of Christmas Island. She was relieved by HMAS Stuart (III) while alongside in Dampier before proceeding north for a circumnavigation of the mainland visiting Darwin, Lizard Island, Gladstone, Brisbane, Jervis Bay, Adelaide and Bunbury. She then participated in Exercise ASWEX before arriving back at Stirling on 21 November to begin refit preparations.

2004

Darwin returned to sea service on 18 June 2004 for post-refit training and trials. She proceeded to the east coast in August arriving in Sydney on 22  June to commence workup exercises during which notification was received that she was to undertake another deployment to the Middle East later in the year. The frigate visited Hobart enroute back to Western Australia in October and arrived back at Stirling on the 16th where she continued deployment preparations. On 28 December Darwin departed Stirling, seeing in the New Year in the Indian Ocean while bound for the Middle East.

2005 - Operation SLIPPER Rotation X

HMAS Adelaide (01) and HMAS Darwin (04) conducted a handover during January 2005.
HMAS Adelaide (FFG 01) and HMAS Darwin (FFG 04) conducted a handover during January 2005.

After fuelling at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, Darwin entered the MEAO on 9 January 2005. There she spent most of the deployment operating in the North Arabian Gulf carrying out maritime security patrols and interdiction operations around the Iraqi offshore oil platforms aimed at deterring smuggling and acts of piracy. She also provided logistical, chaplaincy and information systems support to the USN security detachments stationed on the oil platforms.

Darwin enjoyed a brief respite from operational duties when she supported Australian interests at the International Defence Exhibition 7 in Abu Dhabi in February. After resuming operations she eventually departed the MEAO on 11 June arriving back at Stirling on 28 June having conducted port visits to Mumbai and Diego Garcia enroute. Once home, she commenced a leave and maintenance period.

A group representing Rockingham Senior High School and the Western Australian Education Department visited HMAS Stirling on 2 August 2005. Students went onboard Darwin as part of their visit and had the opportunity to speak with seagoing sailors.

Left: Rockingham High School students Liam Jones, Tamara Coombes, Alana Malacari, Rochelle Bernard, Brooke Purkiss standing in front of HMAS Darwin at Fleet Base West. Centre: Rochelle and Alana chatting with AB Chris Beatie onboard Darwin at Fleet Base West. Right: Liam Jones, Tamara Coombes, Alana Malacari, Rochelle Bernard and Brooke Purkiss with LEUT Paul Johnson RAN, on HMAS Darwin's bridge.
Left: Rockingham High School students Liam Jones, Tamara Coombes, Alana Malacari, Rochelle Bernard, Brooke Purkiss standing in front of HMAS Darwin at Fleet Base West. Centre: Rochelle and Alana chatting with AB Chris Beatie onboard Darwin at Fleet Base West. Right: Liam Jones, Tamara Coombes, Alana Malacari, Rochelle Bernard and Brooke Purkiss with LEUT Paul Johnson RAN, on HMAS Darwin's bridge.
Left: HMAS Darwin joined HMAS Anzac for Officer of the Watch Manoeuvres during Anzac's Family Day. Right: The communicators of HMAS Anzac preparing their flags before conducting Officer of the Watch manoeuvres with HMAS Darwin.
Left: HMAS Darwin joined HMAS Anzac for Officer of the Watch Manoeuvres during Anzac's Family Day. Right: The communicators of HMAS Anzac preparing their flags before conducting Officer of the Watch manoeuvres with HMAS Darwin.

Following a spell alongside at Fleet Base West Darwin returned to sea on 19 September for shakedown and workup exercises before joining Operation RELEX II patrols in October and November.

2006

HMAS Perth Cadets on board HMAS Darwin for sea ride experience. The Cadets and Senior Cadet Officers gather for a group photo prior to boarding the HMAS Darwin, 7 April 2006.
Training Ship Perth Naval Cadets on board HMAS Darwin for sea ride experience. The Cadets and Senior Cadet Officers gather for a group photo prior to boarding HMAS Darwin, 7 April 2006.

Darwin continued RELEX II operations from January to March 2006. In April a decision was made to home port Darwin in Sydney and she left Stirling for the final time as a Western Australian based ship on 7 April. She arrived in Sydney on 21 April having visited Hobart during her eastward passage. It was not long before the frigate was again engaged in Operation RELEX II/ RESOLUTE patrols in July before visiting Asian waters where she participated in the Five Power Defence Arrangement Exercise BERSAMA PADU in September, and the Maritime Training Activity, Exercise LUMBAS, in October.

HMAS Darwin home porting back to Fleet Base East, Sydney after being based in Fleet Base West, Perth for the past 12 years, 21 April 2006.
HMAS Darwin returning permanently to Fleet Base East, Sydney on 21 April 2006 after being based in Fleet Base West, Perth for the past 12 years.
 

She arrived back in Sydney on 27 October where preparations began for her impending upgrade program. The program involved the extensive upgrade of four of the RAN’s Adelaide class frigates which, in Darwin and Sydney’s cases, included an extension of their expected service lives.

2007

Commanding Officer HMAS Darwin, Commander Craig Powell presents a cheque to Janine Jackson, Foundation Manager of the Sir David Martin Foundation for $2337.25, 30 August 2007.
Commanding Officer HMAS Darwin, Commander Craig Powell, RAN presents a cheque to Janine Jackson, Foundation Manager of the Sir David Martin Foundation for $2337.25 on 30 August 2007.

Darwin spent most of 2007 in the hands of the dockyard, returning to sea for just four days on 11 December 2007 to conduct a Mariner Skills Evaluation and a brief series of trials. Significant hull cracks were discovered during the refit, which required substantial repairs.

2008

Minor contractor work was undertaken in the New Year before Darwin departed Sydney on 10 March 2008 to commence sea trials of her new systems. The FFG Upgrade Program continued over the ensuing months as work continued to install, integrate and trial the new systems. These trials were interspersed with visits to Melbourne in March and Hobart in June.

HMAS Darwin FFG 04 (Commanding Officer, Commander Craig Powell, RAN) sails out from Jervis Bay, NSW, passing Point Perpendicular, as the ship heads for sea in the Eastern Australian Exercise Area (EAXA) to conduct FFG Upgrade Contractor Trials after being recently fitted with the new VLS (Vertical Launch System), 12 June 2008.
HMAS Darwin (Commanding Officer, Commander Craig Powell, RAN) sails out from Jervis Bay, NSW, passing Point Perpendicular. The ship heads out into the Eastern Australian Exercise Area (EAXA) to conduct FFG Upgrade Contractor Trials after being recently fitted with the new VLS (Vertical Launch System), 12 June 2008.
 

On 19 August Darwin rendezvoused with USS John S McCain. The following day she escorted the American destroyer into Sydney Harbour signalling the beginning of activities relating to the Centenary of the USN’s Great White Fleet visit to Australia in 1908. She later visited Melbourne and Albany in support of further Great White Fleet Centenary events in August and September. A visit to Fleet Base West was followed by port visits to Bunbury, Esperance, Adelaide and Eden before arriving back in Sydney on 24 October.

USS John S McCain, HMAS Sirius and HMAS Darwin in company transiting to Melbourne for Great White Fleet 100th Anniversary.
USS John S McCain, HMAS Sirius and HMAS Darwin in company transiting to Melbourne for Great White Fleet 100th Anniversary.
 
CMDR John Banigan, CO USS John S McCain and his ship's company are welcomed to Melbourne by traditional land owners, the Boon Wurrung people. John Tye welcomed the Great White Fleet 100th year anniversary to Port Melbourne, with traditional dance, singing and digeridoo playing accompanied by one of the elders, John Belling. The CO of USS John S McCain Commander John Banigan had a possum fur placed over his shoulders as a sign of mutual respect from the Boon Wurrung people.
CMDR John Banigan, CO USS John S McCain and his ship's company are welcomed to Melbourne by traditional land owners, the Boon Wurrung people. John Tye welcomed the Great White Fleet 100th year anniversary to Port Melbourne, with traditional dance, singing and digeridoo playing accompanied by one of the elders, John Belling. The CO of USS John S McCain Commander John Banigan had a possum fur placed over his shoulders as a sign of mutual respect from the Boon Wurrung people.
Left: World renowned violinist Andre Rieu and his son Pierre visited HMAS Darwin for a tour conducted by the ship's Commanding Officer, Commander Craig Powell, 25 November 2008. Right: Violinist Andre Rieu pictured with Lieutenant Commander Lara Fowler onboard HMAS Darwin.
Left: World renowned violinist Andre Rieu and his son Pierre visited HMAS Darwin for a tour conducted by the ship's Commanding Officer, Commander Craig Powell, 25 November 2008. Right: Violinist Andre Rieu pictured with Lieutenant Commander Lara Fowler onboard HMAS Darwin.

2009

HMAS Darwin 'Cheers Ship' as the Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, AC, CVO, reviews the ship's company during the Royal Australian Navy's Fleet Review 2009.
HMAS Darwin 'Cheers Ship' as the Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, AC, CVO, reviews the ship's company during the Royal Australian Navy's Fleet Review 2009.

During 2009 Darwin underwent other significant structural modifications. On 13 March she anchored south of Fort Denison to participate in a ceremonial Fleet Review and the following day, the ship’s company participated in a Freedom of Entry march through the City of Sydney. She returned to sea on 16 March to conduct a series of trials and evaluations, and visited Hobart in April to participate in Anzac Day commemorations before proceeding to Western Australian waters. There she underwent an emergency docking late in May to rectify an oil leak in the controllable pitch propeller hub before returning to Sydney in June for further defect rectification and to continue trials, evaluations and exercises.

Top left: Tiger 80 lands on HMAS Darwin during Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 09, 6 July 2009. Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics David Hazell (right) is Flight Deck Marshaller. Top right: CO HMAS Darwin, CMDR Chris Smith, CSM, RAN and LEUT John Hallam, RAN on the starboard bridge wing. Bottom left: Able Seaman Stores Naval Bob Jope. Bottom right: Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Nathan Coles fires the .50 calibre machine gun from the port waist of HMAS Darwin during a weapons training exercise.
Top left: Tiger 80 lands on HMAS Darwin. Petty Officer Aviation Technician Avionics David Hazell (right) is the Flight Deck Marshaller supervising the flight deck crew as they lash the helicopter onto the deck for training purposes during Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 09, 6 July 2009. Top right: The Commanding Officer of HMAS Darwin, Commander Chris Smith, CSM, RAN discusses replenishment at sea procedures with his navigator, Lieutenant John Hallam, RAN on the starboard bridge wing, 8 July 2009. Bottom left: Able Seaman Stores Naval Bob Jope peers around the other fire team members, during a damage control exercise onboard HMAS Darwin, 17 July 2009. Bottom right: Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Nathan Coles fires the .50 calibre machine gun from the port waist of HMAS Darwin during a weapons training exercise, 10 July 2009.
 
HMAS Darwin off the Great Barrier Reef during TALISMAN SABRE 09, 11 July 2009.
HMAS Darwin off the Great Barrier Reef during Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 09, 11 July 2009.
HMAS Darwin conducts 76mm (3-inch) gun firings on Townshend Island, off the Queensland coast, as a participating unit in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 09, 12 July 2009.
HMAS Darwin conducts 76mm (3-inch) gun firings on Townshend Island, off the Queensland coast, as a participating unit in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 09, 12 July 2009.

Darwin participated in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 09 in Queensland waters in July involving 16 ships and 24,000 Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine personnel from Australia, the USA and Canada.

Officers and sailors from HMAS Darwin and HMAS Leeuwin participate in the Indonesian Fleet Review 2009, city parade in Manado, Indonesia during their South East Asian Deployment, 18 August 2009.
Officers and sailors from HMAS Darwin and HMAS Leeuwin participate in the Indonesian Fleet Review 2009, city parade in Manado, Indonesia during their South East Asian Deployment, 18 August 2009.
 

On 7 August Darwin deployed to Asian waters arriving in Bitung, Indonesia, in company with HMAS Leeuwin for the Indonesian Fleet Review celebrating the 64th anniversary of the Republic of Indonesia. A detachment of the ship’s company participated in the Fleet Review Parade in Manado City on the 18th and the following day joined 31 other ships from 15 countries to conduct the fleet entry into Manado Bay. Darwin continued on to Lumut where she took part in Exercise MASTEX 09; Kuala Lumpur; Singapore; Sattahip where she participated in Exercise AUSTHAI 09; Sihanoukville; Ho Chi Minh City; and Singapore again where she took part in Exercise BERSAMA LIMA 09.

Exercise AUSTHAI 09 opening Ceremony held at Chuksamet Port, Sattahip. AUSTHAI 09 was opened by Captain Somsak Wanicharoen, RTN, Deputy Commander, Frigate Squadron One and Colonel John Blaxland, Australian Defence Attache - Thailand, 14 September 2009.
Exercise AUSTHAI 09 opening Ceremony held at Chuksamet Port, Sattahip. AUSTHAI 09 was opened by Captain Somsak Wanicharoen, RTN, Deputy Commander, Frigate Squadron One and Colonel John Blaxland, Australian Defence Attache - Thailand, 14 September 2009.
 
HMAS Darwin sits in the still waters of the South China Sea during Exercise BERSAMA LIMA 2009, 15 October 2009.
HMAS Darwin sits in the still waters of the South China Sea during Exercise BERSAMA LIMA 2009, 15 October 2009.
Left: Ceremonial Sunset performed onboard HMAS Darwin with guests watching from HMAS Arunta. Commander Steve Bowater, OAM, RAN, Commanding Officer HMAS Arunta hosts participants of Exercise BERSAMA LIMA 2009 onboard for a cocktail party reception while berthed in Sembawang, Singapore, 22 October 2009. Centre: Able Seaman Communications and Information Systems Daniel Martin, and Seaman Communications and Information Systems Luke Zantvoot. Right: HMAS Darwin’s ceremonial guard.
Left: Ceremonial Sunset performed onboard HMAS Darwin with guests watching from HMAS Arunta. Commander Steve Bowater, OAM, RAN, Commanding Officer HMAS Arunta hosts participants of Exercise BERSAMA LIMA 2009 onboard for a cocktail party reception while berthed in Sembawang, Singapore, 22 October 2009. Centre: Able Seaman Communications and Information Systems Daniel Martin, and Seaman Communications and Information Systems Luke Zantvoot. Right: HMAS Darwin’s ceremonial guard.
Top left: Darwin conducts Man Overboard Exercise (MOBEX) during her Southeast Asian Deployment 2009. Top right: (L-R) Seaman General Experience Sailors (SMNGX) Kirsty Goldsmith, Danielle Stevens, Jillian Witherow, Kirstie Nicholls, Georgia Patterson and Amanda Archer. Bottom left: Petty Officer Boatswain Antony Kirk. Bottom right: (L-R) Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Glenn Phillips, Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Jarrdyn Pittman and Seaman Boatswains Mate Taylor Bradshaw.
Top left: HMAS Darwin conducts a Man Overboard Exercise (MOBEX) during her Southeast Asian Deployment 2009.
Top right: General Experience Sailors onboard HMAS Darwin during her Southeast Asian Deployment 2009, (L-R) Seaman General Experience Sailors (SMNGX) Kirsty Goldsmith, Danielle Stevens, Jillian Witherow, Kirstie Nicholls, Georgia Patterson and Amanda Archer.
Bottom left: Petty Officer Boatswain Antony Kirk proudly displays an Australian White Ensign off the back of a RHIB during Exercise BERSAMA LIMA 2009.
Bottom right: A small contingent from HMAS Darwin's boarding team depart HMAS Darwin during Exercise BERSAMA LIMA 2009, (L-R) Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Glenn Phillips, Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Jarrdyn Pittman and Seaman Boatswains Mate Taylor Bradshaw.

She returned to Stirling on 4 November in time to participate in Exercise ASWEX 09 and other in-company exercises in Western Australian waters before returning to Sydney on 4 December having visited six countries and participated in three multi-national exercises over the previous four months. Darwin hosted a reception on the wharf adjacent to the ship on 10 December celebrating her 25 years in commission.

Left: HMAS Darwin returns to Fleet Base East, Garden Island from a four month deployment throughout South East Asia, 4 December 2009. Right: Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator (CSO) Chris King with his wife Seaman CSO Jayde King and their daughter Summer.
Left: HMAS Darwin returns to Fleet Base East, Garden Island from a four month deployment throughout Southeast Asia, 4 December 2009.
Right: Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator (CSO) Chris King with his wife Seaman Combat Systems Operator Jayde King and their daughter Summer.
 

HMAS Darwin Part Four