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HMAS Darwin (FFG 04)
HMAS Darwin F-04.jpg
HMAS Darwin
Career (Australia)
Namesake: City of Darwin
Builder: Todd Pacific Shipyards, Seattle, Washington
Laid down: 3 July 1981
Launched: 26 March 1982
Commissioned: 21 July 1984
Motto: "Resurgent"
Nickname: FFG-44 (US hull designation during construction)
Honours and
Battle honours:
East Timor 1999
Persian Gulf 2002-03
Iraq 2003
Status: Active as of 2013
Badge: Ship's badge
General characteristics (post-refit)
Class & type: Adelaide class guided missile frigate
Displacement: 4,200 tons
Length: 138 m (453 ft)
Beam: 14.3 m (47 ft)
Draught: 7.5 m (25 ft)
Propulsion: 2 × General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, each providing 20,500 hp (15,287 kW). Total 41,000 hp (30,574 kW)
Speed: Over 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range: 4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km; 5,200 mi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement: 184 + aircrew
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-49A(V)1 radar, Mk 92 Guided Missile Fire Control System, AN/SPS-55 radar, Spherion B sonar
Armament: Mk 41 VLS for Evolved Sea Sparrow missile
Mk 13 launcher for Harpoon and SM-2MR missiles
1 × 3 inch OTO Melara
1 × 20 mm Mk 15 Vulcan Phalanx
2 x triple 324 mm Mk 32 torpedo tubes
Aircraft carried: 2 x S-70B Seahawk

HMAS Darwin (FFG 04), named for the capital city of the Northern Territory, is an Adelaide class guided-missile frigate of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). One of four ships ordered from the United States, Darwin entered service in 1984. During her career, she has operated in the Persian Gulf, as part of the INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce, and off the Solomon Islands. The frigate underwent a major upgrade during 2007 and 2008, and is actively serving as of 2013.

Design and construction

Darwin was the fourth Adelaide class vessel (a derivative of the United States Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate) to be ordered, and the last to be built in the United States of America.[1][2] The ship was laid down by Todd Pacific Shipyards at Seattle, Washington on 2 July 1981,[citation needed] to the Perry class Flight III design. The Adelaides were built as part of the United States Navy's construction program, so were assigned USN hull numbers; Darwin was FFG-44.[1] She was launched on 26 March 1982, and commissioned into the RAN on 21 July 1984.


Darwin test-firing a RIM-24 Tartar missile (not part of the ship's regular armament) during RIMPAC 86

Darwin's main weapon is the Mark 13 missile launcher located on the foredeck: this is used to fire both Harpoon and SM-2MR Standard missiles.[3] A 76-millimetre (3.0 in) Mark 75 OTO Melara gun is located on top of the superstructure, in front of the exhaust funnel.[3][4] A triple-barrelled Mark 32 torpedo tube set is fitted to each side of the superstructure.[3][4] For close defence, a 20-millimetre (0.79 in) Mark 16 Mod 2 Phalanx CIWS sits at the aft end of the superstructure, above the frigate's two helicopter hangars.[3][4] The hangars houses two S-70B Seahawk helicopters.[3]

Operational history

During her career, Darwin has been deployed to the Persian Gulf on several occasions.

Darwin was deployed to East Timor as part of the Australian-led INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce from 19 September to 3 November 1999.[5]

The ship was deployed to the Solomon Islands in 2001.

HMAS Darwin during the International Fleet Review 2013 Open Day

Darwin underwent a major upgrade and refit at Garden Island during 2007 and 2008; returning to service prior to November 2008.[6]

On the morning of 13 March 2009, Darwin 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.[7] The frigate did not participate in the fleet entry, but was anchored in the harbour for the review.

Following an overhaul of the RAN battle honours system, Darwin was granted three battle honours in 2010: "East Timor 1999", "Persian Gulf 2003-03", and "Iraq 2003".[8][9]

In October 2013 Darwin participated in the International Fleet Review 2013.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hooton, E.R. (1 December 1996). "Perking-up the Perry class". Jane's Information Group. 
  2. MacDougall, Anthony K. (2002) [1991]. Australians at war: a pictorial history (2nd (revised and expanded) ed.). Noble Park, Vic: The Five Mile Press. p. 344. ISBN 1-86503-865-2. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "HMAS Darwin". Royal Australian Navy. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, opp. p. 224
  5. Stevens, David (2007). Strength Through Diversity: The combined naval role in Operation Stabilise. Working Papers. 20. Canberra: Sea Power Centre - Australia. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-642-29676-4. ISSN 1834-7231. Archived from the original on 14 May 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  6. McPhedran, Ian (19 November 2008). "Australia's naval frigates 'worth the wait'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2008. 
  7. Brooke, Michael (2 April 2009). "Marching into History". Navy News. Department of Defence. 
  8. "Navy Marks 109th Birthday With Historic Changes To Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  9. "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  10. Commonwealth of Australia (2013). "Participating Warships: International Fleet Review, Sydney, Australia, 3–11 October 2013". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 


  • Stevens, David, ed (2001). The Royal Australian Navy. The Australian Centenary History of Defence (vol III). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-555542-2. OCLC 50418095. 
    • Jones, Peter. "Towards Self Reliance"; "A Period of Change and Uncertainty". The Royal Australian Navy. 

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