HMAS Melbourne (FFG 05) conducted a three-week Systems Qualification Trail (SQT) off the east coast of Australia in December.
The SQT, following a period of dry docking and maintenance for much of last year, is a series of measured trails designed to validate the ship’s combat systems.
The successful SQT included an automated Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) firing, Practise Drop Torpedo (PDT) firing, Close In Weapon System (CIWS) firing and gunnery serials including 76mm and 12.7mm.
Additionally, the ship’s combat survivability was tested with increasingly complex damage-control exercises.
The trials were conducted in conjunction with Exercise Ocean Raider, one of the Royal Australian Navy’s largest maritime warfare exercises, held from 14 November to 5 December 2016.
Ocean Raider involved 11 warships and submarines from Australia and the United States.
2016 was the first year the Royal Australian Navy staged Ocean Raider, which, along with Ocean Explorer and Ocean Horizon, is a series of exercises designed to train and certify the fleet in task-group-level naval combat.
HMAS Melbourne was welcomed back to her homeport of Sydney at the end of February last year after 203 days away from home, on operations in the Middle East.
It was her eighth rotation in the area.
During that mission, on which HMAS Melbourne patrolled more than 37,000 nautical miles, she seized and destroyed 977kg of heroin from five different vessels.
HMAS Melbourne has twice won the Duke of Gloucester’s Cup – for the unit displaying the highest level of overall proficiency in the Royal Australian Navy – in 2010 and 2015.