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The six Adelaide-class frigates have been replaced by three Hobart-class air warfare destroyers – HMA Ships Hobart (III), Brisbane (III) and Sydney (V).