Military Wiki
HMAS Sydney (FFG 03)
A frigate with the number "03" painted near the bow. The ship is travelling slowly, and white-uniformed people line the decks with a city skyline in the background.
HMAS Sydney at New York City in 2009
Career (Australia)
Namesake: City of Sydney
Builder: Todd Pacific Shipyards, Seattle, Washington
Laid down: 16 January 1980
Launched: 26 September 1980
Commissioned: 29 January 1983
Motto: "Thorough and Ready"
Nickname: FFG-35 (US hull designation during construction)
Honours and
Battle Honours:
Kuwait 1991
East Timor 1999
Persian Gulf 2001–03
Iraq 2003
plus ten inherited honours
Other awards:
Meritorious Unit Citation
Status: Active as of 2013
Badge: Ship's badge
General characteristics
Class & type: Adelaide class guided missile frigate
Displacement: 3,678 tons (at launch)
4,200 tons (post-refit)
Length: 138 m (453 ft)
Beam: 13.7 m (45 ft)
Draught: 4.5 m (15 ft)
Propulsion: 2 × General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, each providing 20,500 hp (15,287 kW). Total 41,000 hp (30,574 kW)
Speed: 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: 210
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 in (76 mm) OTO Melara
1 × 20 mm (0.79 in) Mk 15 Vulcan Phalanx
2 x triple 324 mm (12.8 in) Mk 32 torpedo tubes
Aircraft carried: 2 x S-70B Seahawk

HMAS Sydney (FFG 03) is an Adelaide class guided missile frigate of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The frigate one of six modified Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates ordered from 1977 onwards, and the third of fourth to be constructed in the United States of America. Laid down and launched in 1980, Sydney was named for the capital city of New South Wales, and commissioned into the RAN in 1983.

During her operational history, Sydney has been involved in Australian responses to the 1987 Fijian coups d'état and the Bougainville uprising. The frigate has been deployed to the Persian Gulf on five occasions in support of United States operations during the Gulf War, War in Afghanistan, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and has completed at least two round-the-world voyages.

Sydney is expected to remain in service until 2013. The frigate will be replaced by a Hobart-class destroyer.

Design and construction

In the mid-1970s, the Australian Government elected to acquire several Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates to replace the RAN's three Daring class destroyers, following the cancellation of the Australian light destroyer project.[1] Sydney, the third ship of what became the Adelaide class, was ordered from the United States in late 1977.[1]

The last ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry Flight II design, Sydney was laid down at Todd Pacific Shipyards on 16 January 1980.[2][3][4] She was launched on 26 September 1980, and commissioned into the RAN on 29 January 1983.[2][5] During construction, the ship was identified by the United States Navy hull number FFG-35.[3]

At launch, the ship was 136 metres (446 ft) long, 13.7 metres (45 ft) wide, and has a draught of 4.5 metres (15 ft).[2][5] The length was increased to 138 metres (453 ft) in 1987–88 to permit the operation of the S-70B Seahawk from the frigate.[2] Displacement at launch was 3,678 tons; by 2009, various refits and upgrades had increased this to 4,200 tons.[2]

The frigate carries a ship's company of 210.[5] Sydney was the first ship of her class to carry female sailors and officers, requiring the installation of partitioning to some mess decks.[2]

Operational history

In May 1987, Sydney visited Fiji, and was alongside in Suva when the first of the 1987 Fijian coups d'état occurred on 14 May.[6] Sydney and sister ship Adelaide, alongside in Lautoka, were instructed to remain off Fiji to aid in any necessary evacuation of Australian citizens; the first component of what became Operation Morris Dance.[6] Sydney remained on station until at least 29 May, when a phased withdrawal began.[6][Clarification needed]

Following the acquisition of the Vulcan Phalanx close-in weapon system and the Seahawk helicopter, Sydney underwent a modification refit to be capable of using these weapons.[2] This refit occurred over 1987 and 1988, and also saw the installation of fin stabilisation systems.[2]

Commemorative badge of the 1990 world voyage, on display in the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney.

In January 1990, Sydney, Tobruk, and Jervis Bay were placed on standby to evacuate civilians from Bougainville Island following the Bougainville uprising.[7] Sydney and Tobruk stood down in February, and the two ships departed with the submarine Oxley on a deployment to Turkey to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the landing at Anzac Cove.[7] Following Anzac Day, Sydney continued on a round-the-world voyage, which included numerous diplomatic visits to European and American ports, the first visit of a RAN vessel to Sweden, and participation in a United States counter-narcotics operation in the Caribbean.[8] The frigate arrived home in September.[9]

On 3 December 1990, Sydney and the Perth-class destroyer Brisbane arrived in the Persian Gulf to relieve HMA Ships Adelaide and Darwin as part of Operation Damask; the Australian military contribution to the Gulf War.[10] Sydney was assigned to the escort screen around Battle Force Zulu, a naval force built around four United States Navy aircraft carriers, and also participated in surveillance and boarding operations.[10][11] The two Australian warships remained in the area until 26 March 1991.[11] Sydney was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation on 4 November 1991 for this deployment, and later received the battle honour "Kuwait 1991".[12][13][14]

Aerial view of a frigate travelling at speed.

Sydney underway in the Persian Gulf during the Operation Damask deployment

Sydney was deployed back to the Persian Gulf for Operation Damask from September 1991 to February 1992, and again from June 1993 to December 1993.[15]

On 14 March 1994, Sydney rescued the crew of a yacht which had been participating in the Trans-Tasman Yacht Race before encountering difficulties.[16] In early October, the frigate was called on to search for survivors of a light aircraft that ditched into the Tasman Sea.[17]

In May 1995, Sydney became the first RAN warship to visit the Russian port of Vladivostok, as support for a diplomatic and trade mission.[18]

In 1997, Sydney was one of several RAN vessels placed on standby following the outbreak of political disturbances in Papua New Guinea as part of the Sandline affair.[19] No action was required by the Australian warships.[19]

Sydney was deployed to East Timor as part of the Australian-led INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce from 3 November to 19 December 1999.[20] She received the battle honour "East Timor 1999" for this deployment.[13]

On 1 October 2000, Sydney took over from sister ship Newcastle as the RAN vessel assigned to support the peace negotiation process in the Solomon Islands that resulted in the signing of the Townsville Peace Agreement.[21]

In October 2001, Sydney returned to the Persian Gulf to operate in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as part of the War in Afghanistan.[22] The frigate was joined by sister ship Adelaide and the amphibious warfare vessel Kanimbla in early December, and returned to Australia in March 2002.[22] Sydney was sent back to the Gulf in support of 2003 invasion of Iraq, operating from May to August 1993 as part of Operations Falconer and Catalyst.[23] The battle honours "Persian Gulf 2001–03" and "Iraq 2003" recognise these deployments.[13]

Photograph of a frigate's bow and the front of her superstructure. Two weapons systems can be seen on the forward deck.

Sydney in Vancouver, Canada, in 2007. The 8-cell Mark 41 ESSM Vertical Launch System installed during the upgrade can be seen forward of the Mark 13 Harpoon/SM-2MR launcher.

Sydney was the first of four frigates selected to go under the A$1 billion FFG Upgrade, with HMA Ships Darwin, Melbourne and Newcastle following.[2] The upgrade features an 8-cell Mark 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) for 32 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM), upgrades to fire control and air warning radars, and replacement of the hull-mounted sonar and diesel generators.[2] This refit commenced in 2002, but problems with integrating the frigates' anti-missile and anti-torpedo detection and defence systems meant that when Sydney was finished in 2007, she was initially not accepted back into service.[24][25] By November 2008, the problems with the upgrade had been solved.[26]

HMAS Sydney (FFG 03) during the International Fleet Review 2013

On the morning of 13 March 2009, Sydney 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.[27] The frigate led the line of thirteen ships involved in the ceremonial entry through Sydney Heads, and anchored in the harbour for the review.[27]

On 20 April 2009, Sydney and the Anzac class frigate HMAS Ballarat 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.[28] On 17 May, Sydney and Ballarat provided aid to two merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden, driving off two separate groups of Somali pirates attacking the ships.[29] Sydney remained in the area to report the incidents to Combined Task Force 151, while Ballarat escorted an impromptu convoy of eight ships, including the two that were attacked, to safety.[29] The two warships visited ports in Western Europe, North America, the Pacific and northern Asia, with Sydney arriving back in her namesake city on 19 September.[30]

In May 2013, Sydney began a three-month deployment with the United States Seventh Fleet, attached to Carrier Strike Group Five as an escort for the carrier USS George Washington.[31]

In October 2013 participated in the International Fleet Review 2013.[32]

Decommissioning and fate

Sydney is expected to remain in service until approximately 2013.[2] She will be replaced by one of the three Hobart class destroyers.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Jones, in The Royal Australian Navy, p. 220
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Jones, in The Royal Australian Navy, opp. p. 224
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hooton, E.R. (1 December 1996). "Perking-up the Perry class". Jane's Information Group. 
  4. No Name (FFG 35), United States Navy
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Sea Power Centre, HMAS Sydney
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Jones, in The Royal Australian Navy, p. 260
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bendle et al., Database of Royal Australian Navy Operations, 1990–2005, p. 3
  8. Bendle et al., Database of Royal Australian Navy Operations, 1990–2005, pgs. 4, 6
  9. Bendle et al., Database of Royal Australian Navy Operations, 1990–2005, p. 4
  10. 10.0 10.1 Jones, in The Royal Australian Navy, p. 263
  11. 11.0 11.1 Bendle et al., Database of Royal Australian Navy Operations, 1990–2005, p. 7
  12. "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. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "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. 
  14. "It's An Honour – Honours". Retrieved 3 August 2009. "Citation: For meritorious operational service in the Persian Gulf during enforcement of sanctions in support of United Nations Security Council Resolutions and the subsequent period of hostilities against Iraq to liberate Kuwait in 1990–91." 
  15. Bendle et al., Database of Royal Australian Navy Operations, 1990–2005, pgs 12, 18
  16. Bendle et al., Database of Royal Australian Navy Operations, 1990–2005, p. 20
  17. Bendle et al., Database of Royal Australian Navy Operations, 1990–2005, p. 22
  18. Bendle et al., Database of Royal Australian Navy Operations, 1990–2005, p. 24
  19. 19.0 19.1 Bendle et al., Database of Royal Australian Navy Operations, 1990–2005, p. 27
  20. Stevens, Strength Through Diversity, p. 15
  21. Bendle et al., Database of Royal Australian Navy Operations, 1990–2005, p. 40
  22. 22.0 22.1 Bendle et al., Database of Royal Australian Navy Operations, 1990–2005, p. 44
  23. Bendle et al., Database of Royal Australian Navy Operations, 1990–2005, p. 48
  24. Kirk, Dud frigates an inherited nightmare
  25. McPhedran, Frigates 'can't go to war' despite $1.4bn upgrade
  26. McPhedran, Australia's naval frigates 'worth the wait'
  27. 27.0 27.1 Brooke, Marching into History
  28. Northern Trident 2009, Royal Australian Navy
  29. 29.0 29.1 Dodd, RAN warships to the rescue as Somali pirates flee
  30. HMAS Sydney returns home, ABC Online
  31. Slavin, Erik (6 May 2013). "Australian frigate embeds with US Navy at Yokosuka, Japan". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  32. Commonwealth of Australia (2013). "Participating Warships: International Fleet Review, Sydney, Australia, 3–11 October 2013". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 


News and journal articles
Websites and other media

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).