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HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155)
HMAS Ballarat with a US Navy helicopter in 2012
HMAS Ballarat with a US Navy helicopter in 2012
Career (Australia)
Namesake: City of Ballarat
Builder: Tenix Defence Systems
Laid down: 4 August 2000
Launched: 25 May 2002
Commissioned: 26 June 2004
Homeport: Fleet Base East
Motto: "Defend the Flag"
Honours and
Three inherited battle honours
Status: Active as of 2013
Badge: Ship's badge
General characteristics
Class & type: Anzac class frigate
Displacement: 3,600 tonnes full load
Length: 118 m (387 ft)
Beam: 15 m (49 ft)
Draught: 4 m (13 ft)
Propulsion: 1 x General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine providing 30,000 hp (22.5 mW)
2 x MTU 12v 1163 TB83 diesels providing 8,840 hp (6.5 mW)
Speed: 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph)
Range: 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement: approximately 170 sailors
Sensors and
processing systems:
Sonars: Thomson Sintra Spherion B Mod 5; hull-mounted; active search and attack; medium frequency. Provision for towed array
Air search radar: Raytheon AN/SPS-49(V)8 ANZ (C/D-band)
Surface search radar: CelsiusTech 9LV 453 TIR (Ericsson Tx/Rx) (G-band)
Navigation: Atlas Elektronik 9600 ARPA (I-band)
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
ESM: Racal modified Sceptre A (radar intercept), Telefunken PST-1720 Telegon 10 (comms intercept)
Countermeasures: Decoys: G & D Aircraft SRBOC Mk 36 Mod 1 decoy launchers for SRBOC
Armament: Guns and missiles: 1 × 5 in/62 (127 mm) Mk 45 Mod 4 gun, various machine guns and small arms, 2 x 4 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Mk 41 Mod 5 VLS for Sea Sparrow and Evolved Sea Sparrow
Torpedoes: 2 × triple 324 mm Mk 32 Mod 5 tubes
Fire control: CelsiusTech 9LV 453 (J-band)
Combat data systems: CelsiusTech 9LV 453 Mk 3.Link 11
Weapons control: CelsiusTech 9LV 453 optronic director with Raytheon CW Mk 73 Mod 1
Aircraft carried: 1 x SH-60 Seahawk

HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155) is an Anzac class frigate of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The frigate was laid down in 2000 and commissioned into the RAN in mid-2004. Since entering service, Ballarat has been involved in border protection as part of Operation Relex II, was deployed to the Gulf for Operation Catalyst, and was one of the two ships involved in the Operation Northern Trident 2009 round-the-world voyage.

Design and construction

The Anzac class originated from RAN plans to replace the six River class destroyer escorts with a mid-capability patrol frigate.[1][2][3] Australian shipbuilding was thought to be incapable of warship design, so the RAN decided to take a proven foreign design and modify it.[1][3] Around the same time, the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) was looking to replace four Leander class frigates; a deterioration in New Zealand-United States relations, the need to improve alliances with nearby nations, and the commonalities between the RAN and RNZN ships' requirements led the two nations to begin collaborating on the acquisition in 1987.[4][5] Tenders were requested by the Anzac Ship Project at the end of 1986, with 12 ship designs (including an airship) submitted.[1][6] By August 1987, the tenders were narrowed down in October to Blohm + Voss's MEKO 200 design, the M class (later Karel Doorman class) offered by Royal Schelde, and a scaled-down Type 23 frigate proposed by Yarrow Shipbuilders.[5][7] In 1989, the Australian government announced that Melbourne-based shipbuilder AMECON (which became Tenix Defense) would build the modified MEKO 200 design.[3][5][7] The Australians ordered eight ships, while New Zealand ordered two, with an unexercised option for two more.[8][9]

View of Ballarat's bow

The Anzacs are based on Blohm + Voss' MEKO 200 PN (or Vasco da Gama class) frigates, modified to meet Australian and New Zealand specifications and maximise the use of locally built equipment.[3][10] Each frigate has a 3,600-tonne (3,500-long-ton; 4,000-short-ton) full load displacement.[11] The ships are 109 metres (358 ft) long at the waterline, and 118 metres (387 ft) long overall, with a beam of 14.8 metres (49 ft), and a full load draught of 4.35 metres (14.3 ft).[11] A Combined Diesel or Gas (CODOG) propulsion machinery layout is used, with a single, 30,172-horsepower (22,499 kW) General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbine and two 8,840-horsepower (6,590 kW) MTU 12V1163 TB83 diesel engines driving the ship's two controllable-pitch propellers.[3][11] Maximum speed is 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph), and maximum range is over 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph); about 50% greater than other MEKO 200 designs.[3][11][12] The standard ship's company of an Anzac consists of 22 officers and 141 sailors.[11]

As designed, the main armament for the frigate is a 5-inch 54 calibre Mark 45 gun, supplemented by an eight-cell Mark 41 vertical launch system (for RIM-7 Sea Sparrow or RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles), two 12.7-millimetre (0.50 in) machine guns, and two Mark 32 triple torpedo tube sets (initially firing Mark 46 torpedoes, but later upgraded to use the MU90 Impact torpedo).[3][11][13] They were also designed for but not with a close-in weapons system (two Mini Typhoons fitted when required from 2005 onwards), two quad-canister Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers (which were installed across the RAN vessels from 2005 onwards), and a second Mark 41 launcher (which has not been added).[3][14][15] The Australian Anzacs use a Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter; plans to replace them with Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprites were cancelled in 2008 due to ongoing problems.[3][16][17]

Ballarat was laid down at Williamstown, Victoria on 4 August 2000.[18] The ship was assembled from six hull modules and six superstructure modules; the superstructure modules were fabricated in Whangarei, New Zealand, and hull modules were built at both Williamstown and Newcastle, New South Wales, with final integration at Williamstown.[3] She was launched on 25 May 2002, and commissioned into the RAN on 26 June 2004.[18] She was the eighth ship of the class to be constructed, and the sixth to enter service in the Royal Australian Navy.[18] The motto and badge of HMAS Ballarat are references to the events of the Eureka Stockade, which occurred at Ballarat in 1854.[citation needed]

Operational history

At the start of 2005, Ballarat was involved in Operation Relex II, a border protection operation in Australia's northern waters.[19] Ballarat ran aground off Christmas Island near Flying Fish Cove on 22 January 2005 causing damage to the rudder and propellers from the sand and coral.[19] There were no injuries to the crew.[19] She was able to return to Melbourne for repairs in drydock at Tenix after further checks in Fremantle.[citation needed]

Ballarat refuelling from USS Ronald Reagan on 21 April 2006

In March 2006, Ballarat was deployed to the Persian Gulf in as part of Operation Catalyst, the Australian Defence Force's contribution to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Iraq.[citation needed]

In December 2006, a request by members of the ship's company led to a re-launching of Ballarat Bitter, a beer originally brewed in Ballarat but stopped in 1989.[20] Proceeds from the sale of the two limited releases were donated to the United Way charities.[20] The brand's mascot, Ballarat Bertie, has been adopted by the ship as a mascot.[21]

On the morning of 13 March 2009, Ballarat was one of seventeen warships involved in a ceremonial fleet entry and fleet review in Sydney Harbour, the largest collection of RAN ships since the Australian Bicentenary in 1988.[22] The frigate was one of the thirteen ships involved in the ceremonial entry through Sydney Heads, and anchored in the harbour for the review.

On 20 April 2009, Ballarat and the Adelaide class frigate HMAS Sydney departed from Sydney as part of Operation Northern Trident, a six-month round-the-world voyage by the two vessels, with numerous diplomatic visits and joint exercises with foreign navies.[23] During the night of 17 May, Ballarat and Sydney provided aid to two merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden, driving off two separate groups of Somali pirates attacking the ships.[24] Ballarat escorted an impromptu convoy of eight ships, including the two that were attacked, to safety, while Sydney remained in the area to report the incidents to Combined Task Force 151.[24]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 244
  2. Fairall-Lee, Miller, & Murphy, in Forbes, Sea Power, p. 336
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Grazebrook, Anzac frigates sail diverging courses
  4. Greener, Timing is everything, pp. 23–9
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 245
  6. Greener, Timing is everything, p. 30
  7. 7.0 7.1 Greener, Timing is everything, p. 31
  8. Wertheim (ed.), The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, p. 20
  9. Greener, Timing is everything, pp. 43–4
  10. Wertheim, The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, pp. 20–1
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Sharpe (ed.), Jane's Fighting Ships 1998–99, pgs. 25, 470
  12. Wertheim, The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, pp. 21
  13. Fish & Grevatt, Australia's HMAS Toowoomba test fires MU90 torpedo
  14. Scott, Updating ANZACs to meet changed strategic posture
  15. Scott, Enhanced small-calibre systems offer shipborne stopping power
  16. Grevatt, Australia cancels troubled Super Seasprite programme
  17. Forbes, How a helicopter deal flew into trouble
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Royal Australian Navy, HMAS Ballarat
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Navy opens frigate probe, in The Courier
  20. 20.0 20.1 Buying up big on Bertie beer, in The Courier
  21. Oliver, Ballarat Bitter kegs released to city pubs
  22. Marching into History, in Navy News
  23. Royal Australian Navy, Northern Trident 2009
  24. 24.0 24.1 Dodd, RAN warships to the rescue as Somali pirates flee


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