HMAS Sydney (IV) - Part 4
Guided Missile Frigate (FFG)
Thorough and Ready
Todd Pacific Shipyard Corporation, Seattle
26 September 1980
|Dimensions & Displacement|
|Range||4,500 nautical miles|
|Torpedoes||6 x Mk 32 (2 triple) tubes|
|Inherited Battle Honours|
With her refit nearing completion, the ship hosted members of the Finding Sydney Foundation and the Sydney Swans AFL Club on 21 April 2010 in launching the inaugural HMAS Sydney II Memorial Trophy. The Sydney Swans and West Coast Eagles AFL Clubs, representing the namesake city and last port of departure of HMAS Sydney (II), compete for the trophy annually. The inaugural match was played on 24 April at the Sydney Cricket Ground with sailors from Sydney participating in Anzac Day commemorations on the day. The RAN Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Steve Gilmore, AM, CSC, RAN, presented the winning team, the Sydney Swans, with the trophy while Sydney’s commanding officer, Captain Peter Leavy, RAN, presented the award for the Player of the Match, a 76mm cartridge casing fired from Sydney.
Sydney returned to sea on 27 April and commenced a series of trials and exercises which saw her visit Melbourne in July and Port Kembla in September. Also in September, she had the rare opportunity to conduct manoeuvres with vessels from the Peoples Republic of China; the People’s Liberation Army-Navy ships Mianyang and Zheng He. She underwent routine maintenance in October, however, hull corrosion required her to enter dry dock once again that December. She undocked on 21 January 2011 and returned to sea on 4 February.
In the evening of 11 March, in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami off the east coast of Japan, Sydney began preparations to provide humanitarian assistance in the South Pacific should the need arise. However, over the next 24 hours, it became apparent that the tsunami had caused very little damage in the islands of the South Pacific and Sydney was cleared to resume her normal programme on 13 March.
On 21 May, Sydney departed Sydney, in company with HMAS Perth, for Hawaii where she arrived, via Pago Pago, American Samoa, on 6 June. They spent the next two and a half weeks in Hawaiian waters before arriving in Brisbane, once again via Pago Pago, on 9 July and began preparations to participate in Exercises TALISMAN SABRE and WINGARO later in the month. She returned to Sydney on 30 July.
She participated in Exercise TRITON WARRIOR in northern Australian waters in November and December before undergoing a refit in the New Year. She returned to sea on 27 July 2012 and once again commenced a series of port-refit trials and exercises. She departed Sydney on 26 September for Asian waters and arrived at Yokosuka in Japan, via Guam, on 6 October. Sydney sailed on 14 October for Sagami Bay to participate in the triennial Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force International Fleet Review, one of just three international ships to participate alongside some 35 Japanese vessels. A fourteen-person detachment from Sydney’s crew also took the opportunity to travel to the Fukashima Prefecture to lend support to victims of Japan’s 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant disaster. The Sydney sailors provided gifts to children displaced by the disasters and also assisted students during English language lessons.
Sydney departed Yokosuka the following day for Manila where she participated in Exercise LUMBUS before making a good-will visit to Ho Chi Minh City. She departed Ho Chi Minh City on 3 November for Brunei where she participated in Exercise PENGUIN. Brunei was the last international port visit of Sydney’s deployment and upon her return to Australian waters, she was assigned to Operation RESOLUTE on 12 November. She conducted patrols in support of RESOLUTE until 9 December and returned to Sydney, via Darwin, on 19 December.
Sydney acted as flagship for the both the Australia Day and Royal Hobart Regattas in January and February 2013 respectively. On 22 April, she departed Sydney to return to Asian waters. She visited Guam, Yokusuka and Sasebo in Japan, and Busan in the Republic of Korea; was embedded into the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group for training and exercises in July; and conducted exercises with naval units from the USA, Japan and the Republic of Korea including Exercises HAEDORI-WALLABY, PACIFIC BOND and SILENT BANSHEE. She returned to Australian waters to participate in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE off the coast of Queensland from 15 July before partially circumnavigating the country and returned to Sydney on 10 September, via Brisbane, Cairns, Mackay, Fremantle, HMAS Stirling and Jervis Bay, and also participated in Exercise BLUE RAPTOR in August.
On 1 October, Sydney rendezvoused with numerous warships from Australia and overseas in Jervis Bay in preparation for the International Fleet Review commemorating the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first RAN Fleet Unit in 1913, in which Sydney was to have a starring role. The following day, Sydney embarked the Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Timothy Barrett, AM, CSC, RAN, and the Commodore Warfare (and former Sydney CO), Commodore Peter Leavy, RAN, as well as an ABC news team and put to sea with the assembled fleet for a photographic exercise.
On the morning of 4 October, Sydney embarked the Premier of New South Wales, the Honourable Mr Barry O’Farrell, MP, and the Sydney Lord Mayor, the Right Honourable Clover Moore, before assuming the role of flagship for the International Fleet Review Fleet Entry. The formation led by Sydney saluted the Governor General of Australia, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce, AC, CVO, as it rounded Bradleys Head, with Sydney conducting a 21 Gun Salute which was then returned by HMAS Kuttabul. Sydney proceeded to berth alongside White Bay on completion of the ceremony. She returned to Port Jackson the following day for the Fleet Review and the Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Spectacular.
With her International Fleet Review commitments completed, Sydney departed Sydney on 20 October for Darwin and Operation RESOLUTE tasking. She completed her RESOLUTE tasking on 14 December and returned to Sydney on 19 December.
Sydney began her last year in commission undergoing maintenance in Sydney with the crew taking the opportunity to participate in Fleet Synthetic Training hosted at HMAS Watson before proceeding to sea on 25 March 2014 to conduct shakedown and work up exercises. She proceeded to northern Australian waters in April to undertake Operation RESOLUTE tasking.
She departed Darwin on 15 May bound for Singapore and participation in the multi-national tri-service exercise BERSAMA SHIELD, involving Defence personnel from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and the UK. Sydney visited Lumut in June where members of the ship’s company conducted maintenance work at the Pemulihan Dalam Community Centre which provides support to children and members of the local population with special needs. She returned to Darwin on 18 June where she recommenced Operation RESOLUTE tasking, and visited Singapore twice in July and Darwin in early August for brief refuelling and logistics visits.
Sydney’s last RESOLUTE patrol finished on 14 August when she returned to Darwin and she officially completed RESOLUTE tasking five days later. She departed Darwin on 22 August and rendezvoused with JS Hatakaze the following day to escort the Japanese destroyer to Exercise KAKADU. KAKADU began in Darwin Harbour on 25 August and included participating ships or observers from 18 nations including Australia. Sydney returned to Sydney, upon the completion of KAKADU, on 26 September.
In October, Sydney participated in the inaugural Exercise TRITON SIMULATION, a networked, high-end warfare simulation conducted with other RAN ships and shore establishments while alongside. The concept enables crew to develop war fighting skills in a complex training environment using scenarios that may otherwise be practically unavailable.
She visited New Zealand to conduct navigation training later in the month before being redirected to Brisbane in November to contribute to Operations SAVILLE and PARAPET, the ADF’s support to the G20 Leader’s Summit in Brisbane. She embarked a 723 Squadron Squirrel helicopter off Moreton Island on 12 November and remained at sea off the Queensland coast until 17 November when she returned to Sydney. She recommenced training and exercises later that month.
Sydney visited Hobart for the last time in February 2015 for the 176th running of the Royal Hobart Regatta. Some 200,000 people flocked to Hobart’s waterfront over the course of the four-day event, and more than 2,000 took the opportunity to tour Sydney during an open day on 8 February.
Sydney entered Sydney Harbour for the last time on 28 February with eight former commanding officers embarked flying her decommissioning pennant and welcomed at Fleet Base East by former sailors, officers and support staff. She formally commenced duties as a harbour training ship on 9 March when five trainee junior sailors commenced training toward the award of a Marine Systems Technician qualification.
That April she was heavily involved in the virtual training exercise, Fleet Synthetic Training – Joint 15-72, building on the success of TRITON THUNDER the previous year. The exercise involved two carrier strike groups, an expeditionary strike group, six composite task forces, thirteen United States and Australian surface combatants, three United States Maritime Patrol Aircraft simulators, one submarine simulator, and multiple Air Force and Army staffs and units. Apart from Sydney, other participating RAN units were HMA Ships Melbourne, Arunta, Stirling and Watson, with representatives from the Fleet Air Arm and Sea Combat Command, linked with USN units in Hawaii, Okinawa, Washington State, California, New Mexico and Georgia.
Sydney was used as a training platform for Australian Clearance Diving Team 1 in May and was also used as a training platform by the Tactical Assault Group – East (TAG-E). The exercise saw Sydney’s crew role-play as hostile forces while the TAG-E gained control of the ship. Participating in the exercise was His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales.
On 4 June Sydney assisted the NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Command social media campaign. The campaign, Operation STAY ALERT, was in effect over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend where NSW Police used imagery of Sydney and members of her crew displaying messages to promote road safety.
The ship’s company continued fund raising events for the Sydney Infants’ Home through the ship’s final year in commission. In excess of $50,000 was raised through working parties, barbeques and other events.
Sydney decommissioned on 7 November 2015 after which she continued to serve as a Harbour Training Ship in Sydney Harbour.
29/1/1983 CMDR G.P. Kable, RAN
18/5/1984 CMDR R.D. Lamb, RAN
23/10/1985 CMDR R.A. Christie, RAN
3/7/1987 LCDR P.J. Purnell-Webb, RAN
31/12/1987 CMDR P.J. Purnell-Webb, RAN
21/3/1988 CMDR R.E. Shalders, RAN
22/11/1989 CMDR B.D. Robertson, RAN
12/10/1990 CMDR L.G. Cordner, RAN
29/4/1992 CMDR M.F. Bonser, RAN
20/12/1993 CMDR R.M. McMillan, RAN
13/7/1995 CMDR C.W. Darby, RAN
18/12/1996 CMDR J.V.P. Goldrick, RAN
18/6/1998 CMDR J.A. Gale, RAN
22/1/1999 LCDR G.W. Jones, RAN
1/2/1999 CAPT J.V.P. Goldrick, RAN
23/4/1999 CMDR S.T. Cullen, RAN
12/11/2000 CMDR D.W. Bates, AM, RAN
9/2002 CMDR M.J. Van Balen, RAN
15/12/2003 CMDR P.M. Quinn, RAN
15/5/2006 CMDR G.N.C. Holthouse, RAN
21/12/2007 CAPT B.J. Wheeler, RAN
14/04/2009 CAPT P.J. Leavy, RAN
9/7/2011 CAPT L. Charles-Jones, RAN
13/12/2012 CMDR K.A. Brinckmann, RAN
13/3/2015 LCDR D.M. Murphy, RAN