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Royal Australian Navy
Adelaide class Guided Missile Frigate (FFG)

adelaide class guided missile frigate ffg royal australian navy hmas canberra sydney darwin melbourne newcastle
FFG 01
HMAS Adelaide (1980)
FFG 02
HMAS Canberra
FFG 03
HMAS Sydney
FFG 04
HMAS Darwin
FFG 05
HMAS Melbourne
FFG 06
HMAS Newcastle

Todd Pacific Shipyards Co., Seattle, USA (4) & Amecon, Williamstown, Australia (2)
Modified US Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG 7) class Guided Missile Frigates
138,1 meters (453.1 feet) overall
Beam: 13,7 meters (44.11 ft)
Draft: 4,5 meters (14.9 ft)
Displacement: 4267 tons (full load)
Speed: 29+ knots (54+ km/h)
Range: 4500 NM (8300 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h)
Complement: 200

2 x
General Electric LM2500 gas turbines (20500 hp / 15287 kW, each)
2 shafts, 2

1 x
Mk-13 missile launcher
(40 missile magazine) for a mix of
RIM-66 Standard Missiles SM-2MR Block SAM and/or
RGM-84 Harpoon SSM
- - - - -
1 x Mk-41 Mod.16 Vertical Launching System (VLS) - 8 cells
for up to 32
RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) (4 per cell)
- - - - -
1 x Oto-Melara 3”/62-caliber (76mm) rapid firing gun
- - - - -
1 x Mk-15 Phalanx Close-in Weapon System (CIWS)
- - - - -
2 x Mk-32 Mod.5 triple-torpedo-tubes for Mk-46 or EuroTorp MU90 Impact torpedoes

flight deck and hangar for 2 helicopter (Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk or AS350B Squirrel)

Sensors and processing systems:
Raytheon SPS-49A(V)1 radar
ISC Cardion SPS-55 radar
Lockheed SPG-60 target illumination radar
Sperry Mk-92 Mod.12 gun and missile fire control system
Radamec 2500 optronic director with TV, Laser and IR imager
Thales Spherion TMS4131 sonar system
Petrel TMS5424 mine avoidance system
Albatros TMS4350 towed-array torpedo warning system

Electronic warfare & decoys:
4 x Loral Hycor Mark 36 SRBOC launchers or Terma SKWS decoy system
2 x Rafael long-range chaff rocket launchers
LESCUT torpedo countermeasures system
Rafael C-Pearl electronic support measures system
Elbit EA-2118 jammer

Following the cancellation of the Australian light destroyer project in 1973, the British Type 42 destroyer and the American Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate were identified as alternatives. Although the Type 42 met the RAN's requirements as a replacement for the cancelled light destroyers and the Daring-class destroyers, fitting the ship with the SM-1 missile would have been difficult. On the other hand, the Perry class was still at the design stage; a design that was described by assessment project staff as "a second rate escort that falls short of the DDL (light destroyer) requirements on virtually every respect". Despite this, the Australian government approved the purchase of two US-built Perry-class ships in 1974.

The risk of acquiring an unproven design was seen as acceptable because of the success of the USN's Charles F. Adams-class destroyer (of which the RAN operated three ships as the Perth class), when compared to the equivalent British ships the RAN would have purchased. Final government approval to order two ships was granted in 1976, with a third ship ordered in 1977. The order was later expanded with the order of a fourth unit. These four ships were built by Todd Pacific Shipyards of Seattle, Washington, as part of the USN's shipbuilding program, and were assigned USN hull numbers during construction, which were replaced with RAN pennant numbers upon entering service. The first, HMAS Adelaide (USN hull number FFG-17, RAN pennant number FFG 01) was built to the Flight I design, while Canberra (FFG-18/FFG 02) and Sydney (FFG-35/FFG 03) were the first and last ships of the Flight II design, respectively. The final American-built ship was Darwin (FFG-44/FFG 04); constructed to the Flight III design. In 1980, two more ships (Melbourne and Newcastle) were ordered, but were built in Australia by AMECON of Williamstown, Victoria, and did not receive USN numbers.


Since the withdrawal of the Perth-class destroyers, these ships are the RAN's primary air defence vessels, armed with a Mark 13 missile launcher for SM-2 missiles. They also have significant anti-surface capability, being armed with an Oto-Melara 76mm (3 inches) gun and the Harpoon ASM (also fired by the Mark 13 launcher), and a pair of triple torpedo tubes for ASW. In addition, two S-70B Seahawk helicopters are carried.

From 2005 onwards, all RAN frigates deploying to the Persian Gulf are fitted with two M2HB .50 calibre machine guns in Mini Typhoon mounts, installed on the aft corners of the hangar roof. Two TopLite EO directors are used with the guns.

The Australian frigates were originally fitted with American Mark 46 anti-submarine torpedoes, but by 2008, they had been replaced with the European MU90 Impact torpedo in three of the four frigates as part of the FFG Upgrade, with the conversion of Newcastle underway at that point.


There have been two major upgrades distinguishing the Adelaide class from the American Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates.

The first three ships were constructed to the Perry class' short-hull design (Flight I and II), with an identical length for both the main deck and the keel. Ships from FFG-36 onwards (including Darwin) were built with an increase in overall length - achieved by angling the transom (the section between the fantail and the keel) to increase the area of the flight deck and allow the operation of Seahawk helicopters. Adelaide, Canberra, and Sydney were later upgraded to match the slightly larger ships, and were fitted with the updated sonars and ESM systems of the Flight III design.

FFG upgrade:
In the mid-1990s, the Australian government commenced SEA 1390, also known as the FFG Upgrade Project. Originally costing A$1 billion, which has expanded to A$1.46 billion, the project includes improvements to the combat and fire control system, the sonar suite, and the air defence missiles. The upgrade was for four ships and intended to expand their service life to approximately 2020. The project cost was partly offset by the decommissioning of the two oldest units: Canberra paying off in 2005 and Adelaide in 2008. Modification of each ship took place at Garden Island Dockyard, with Australian Defence Industries (ADI, now Thales Australia) selected as project leader for the upgrade phase of the project.

After the refit, the ships are capable of firing SM-2MR and RGM-84 Harpoon missiles from the Mark 13 launcher. An 8-cell Mark 41 Vertical Launch System for Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile has also been installed forward of the Mark 13 launcher. The Phalanx CIWS was upgraded to Block 1B, and the torpedoes, missiles, and other ship-mounted weapons were upgraded to the latest versions.

By January 2008, the FFG Upgrade Project was running at least four years behind schedule. The frigates' anti-missile and anti-torpedo detection and defence systems could not be integrated as intended, leaving the ships vulnerable to attack. The first ship refitted, HMAS Sydney, was initially not accepted back into service by the RAN because of the problems, which have also prevented any refitted ship from serving in a combat zone. Australian Defence Association executives and serving navy personnel have blamed both political parties for the problems: while the Howard Liberal government was responsible for the project, the preceding Labor government chose to maintain the frigates instead replacing them with the more expensive and much more labour-intensive, but more capable Kidd-class destroyers in the early 1990s.

By November 2008, Darwin's upgrade had been completed, while the problems experienced with Sydney had been rectified in both ships. It is planned to start deploying these warships to the Gulf in 2009. The RAN and Thales subsequently claimed that the two upgraded ships were the "most capable ships in the history of the RAN", and that once the other two Adelaides were upgraded, the navy would possess the "most lethal frigate fleet on earth". It was reported at the same time that other nations operating guided missile frigates, including the United States, Canada, Greece, and Turkey, were considering similar upgrades.

source: wikipedia



hmas adelaide ffg-01 guided missile frigate royal australian navy
HMAS Adelaide (FFG 01)

hmas canberra ffg-02 adelaide class frigate royal australian navy
HMAS Canberra (FFG 02)

hmas sydney ffg-03 adelaide class frigate royal australian navy
HMAS Sydney (FFG 03)

hmas darwin ffg-04 adelaide class frigate royal australian navy
HMAS Darwin (FFG 04)

hmas melbourne ffg-05 adelaide class frigate royal australian navy
HMAS Melbourne (FFG 05)

hmas newcastle ffg-06 adelaide class frigate royal australian navy
HMAS Newcastle (FFG 06)

RIM-66 Standard Missile SM-2MR firing from Mk-13 launcher

M-13 missile launcher for RIM-66 Standard Missiles SM-2MR SAM or RGM-84 Harpoon SSM

additional mounted 8-cell Mk-41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) for RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM)

Mk-15 Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS)

SPG-60 target illumination radar

superstructure details
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