HMAS Melbourne might live to fight another day

The Australian newspaper is reporting that Adelaide-class frigates HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Newcastle are to be sold to Chile – after their thoroughly modern combat systems have been removed.

FILE PHOTO (2016): HMAS Melbourne departs Sydney Harbour to participate in Exercise Ocean Raider. Photo by Leading Seaman Sarah Williams.

HMAS Melbourne was decommissioned after 27 years service with the Royal Australian Navy on 26 October, preceded by HMAS Newcastle on 30 June this year.

Sisters, HMA Ships Canberra and Adelaide were decommissioned in 2005 and 2008 respectively, to offset the cost of upgrading the remaining four frigates – which were lauded after upgrade as the most potent frigate fleet in the world.

But even the upgraded ships eventually reached their use-by dates – Sydney (November 2015) and Darwin (December 2017) – with both eventually broken up for scrap at Henderson, WA.

Canberra and Adelaide were both sunk as dive wrecks.

Greece and Poland were also rumoured to be interested in buying the Aussie ships, but it would seem Chile may have prevailed. At least that’s the main-stream reporting – which also says “Defence Minister Linda Rey­nolds declined to comment”.

Last of her class, HMAS Melbourne is a CONTACT favourite after I (Editor Brian Hartigan) spent 10 days at sea with her and her very accomodating crew in the Middle East in 2012.

That visit resulted in about 10,000 words of reportage spread over four issues of CONTACT Air Land & Sea magazine – with, unfortunately, only Part II of that series available electronically to share here.

The six Adelaide-class frigates have been replaced by three Hobart-class air warfare destroyers – HMA Ships Hobart (III), Brisbane (III) and Sydney (V).










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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

One thought on “HMAS Melbourne might live to fight another day

  • 31/12/2019 at 10:39 am

    Nice, better to see them serve in another Navy than be broken up or sunk as a dive wreck.

    I served in three of those FFG’s, Sydney 1985 – 88, Darwin 1991 – 92 and Melbourne 1995 – 96.


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