Milestone Anzac frigate crew

Published on SBLT Stacey Butters (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Henderson, Western Australia

Topic(s): HMAS Toowoomba (F156)

HMAS Toowoomba, currently undergoing an Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade at Henderson Shipyard, Western Australia (photo: Unknown)
HMAS Toowoomba, currently undergoing an Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade at Henderson Shipyard, Western Australia

A significant milestone has been achieved this month with the formation of a seventh Anzac class frigate crew - the first time since 2010.

Personnel formed up to crew HMAS Toowoomba, currently undergoing an Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade at Henderson Shipyard, Western Australia, on 1 August. The frigate is expected to undock next month.

Toowoomba Commanding Officer, Commander Stuart Watters, said the event marked a significant achievement in force generation at a time of increased demand from the fleet since the introduction of new capabilities such as the Canberra class amphibious ships.

Toowoomba is the seventh frigate to receive the upgrade, which involves the installation of cutting edge, Australian-developed radar technology.

However, unlike the previous upgrades, Toowoomba will not undergo a crew swap - where a crew from a ship about to enter deep maintenance take responsibility of a ship coming out of maintenance. Rather, the warship will start with a whole new crew.

Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Hamish Frazer, described Toowoomba's reactivation as a "significant challenge", effectively returning her from an empty shell to an operational and seaworthy vessel.

"I am confident Toowoomba can overcome the challenges and be ready to participate in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 2017 - a bi-lateral exercise between US and Australian defence forces," he said.

Chief Petty Officer Maritime Logistics Supply Chain Daniel Byers said Toowoomba was handed over almost empty.

"Our department is now ordering almost every piece of equipment for the ship: from crucial damage control equipment through to pots and pans," he said.

Toowoomba is expected to return to Fleet Base West by late November and commence her work up in early 2017.