After over six months away from their homeport of Fleet Base East, the crew of HMAS Anzac has returned home with an upgraded ship that brings new capabilities to the Royal Australian Navy.
Commanding Officer, Commander Matthew Doornbos, and his crew departed Sydney, on 23 January, in Anzac’s sister ship HMAS Ballarat, sailing her to Perth after conducting border protection operations to commence the Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) upgrade program.
“The ASMD upgrade at Henderson finished at the start of July, while we simultaneously prepared to dock Ballarat for her upgrade.
“Anzac now joins her sister ships Perth and Arunta in gaining a significantly enhanced weapons and sensors systems capability,” Commander Doornbos said
. “Anzac becomes the first ASMD upgraded frigate to be based on the east coast.”
The upgrade showcases Australian design and integration capability, with new Phased Array Radar technology designed by CEA Technologies in Canberra, upgrades to combat systems performed by Saab Systems in South Australia, and platform integration design by BAE Systems in Victoria.
Whilst away from home, the crew met many milestones, including the tenth anniversary of the commissioning of Ballarat in July, swapping over to Anzac and commencing the process of harbour acceptance trials before moving on to Mariner Skills Evaluations and Sea Qualification Trials.
Along the way, the crew has participated in several major events, such as the ‘Tough Mudder’ challenge in Perth where members of the crew participated and raised funds and awareness for the Soldier On charity.
Anzac’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Geoff McGinley, reflected on one of the ship’s major highlights, participation in the Albany Convoy Commemorative Event and the follow-on Exercise DISTANT SHORES.
“The Albany Convoy Commemorative Event celebrated the embarkation of what became the ANZAC forces one hundred years ago en route to Gallipoli.
“To work alongside New Zealand and Japanese ships was a great chance to remember allies that worked together a century ago, and to build on contemporary interoperability.
Anzac will continue to fine tune her capabilities in preparation for embarking on NORTHERN TRIDENT 2015, where she will continue the commemoration of the Centenary of Anzac, representing the Australian Navy at Gallipoli in April.
“For now, though, the crew is happy to be back at their home port, back at home with family and friends,” Lieutenant Commander McGinley said. Commissioned in 1996, Anzac is the lead ship of the Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac class frigates, a long range escort vessel that can perform a variety of air defence, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction roles.