HMAS Perth 2013 - year in review

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Aaron Guest (author), LSIS Yuri Ramsey (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Perth (F157)

HMAS Perth engaging with FA18 Hornets from RAAF Williamtown in the EAXA for Phased Array Radar testing as part of the Anti-Ship Missile Defence Upgrade. (photo: Unknown)
HMAS Perth engaging with FA18 Hornets from RAAF Williamtown in the EAXA for Phased Array Radar testing as part of the Anti-Ship Missile Defence Upgrade.

HMAS Perth (III) is wrapping up its busy year in 2013, after representing Australia and proving the Royal Australian Navy’s new capability as the first Anzac class Frigate to get the Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) upgrade.

Perth started the year by commencing the work-up cycle and conducting the basic damage control and navigation competencies in the Mariner Skills Evaluation. Further advanced competencies such as multi-threat warfare were then assessed in a non-linear fashion over a five-month period, concurrent to Perth’s ASMD commitments and Category 5 trials. Perth saw the results of its sustained efforts for the first half of 2013, with the successful completion of its Unit Readiness Evaluation in July.

Perth departed Fleet Base West for its MIDPAC 2013 deployment in May, with the first stop on the East Coast of Australia, where she operated with a number of Sydney-based ships as well as the Spanish Tanker ESPS Cantabria.

Perth then played a major part in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 13, embedded within the Expeditionary Strike Group with USS Chung Hoon, Preble, and Lassen. Perth helped play a key role in the Complex Group Warfare component of Talisman Sabre 13, successfully helping to protect a conventional submarine that was tasked with hunting a High Value Asset.

Perth also deployed on TALISMAN SABRE 13 with an 816 Squadron Detachment Training Flight, who met a number of training aims, including requalifying pilots, helicopter control officers and flight deck marshallers. This embarked flight also assisted in restoring Perth’s aviation capability and training organic ship’s staff in aviation operations.

Upon completion of TALISMAN SABRE 13 Perth headed for Hawaii to conduct Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile firings (ESSM) on the Pacific Missile Range Facility to prove the final stages of the ASMD upgrade and Perth’s Phased Array Radar against both subsonic and supersonic targets. Perth recorded a 100% accuracy strike rate against all targets engaged.

Perth then commenced her return to Australia and preparations for her participation in the International Fleet Review, first visiting the ports of Auckland, New Zealand, and Melbourne, Australia for Customs and Quarantine clearance, where Perth engaged with the Type 45 air-defence destroyer, HMS Daring, for the first time.

Perth played a major role in the International Fleet Review, escorting Nigerian Ship NNS Thunder and Indian Ship INS Sahyadri from the Bass Strait to Jervis Bay, where she then participated in Exercise Triton Centenary 13 with over 15 different nations. While in Jervis Bay Perth responded to a short-notice search and rescue of two French yachtsmen whose yacht had sunk 360nm east of the coast.

Perth then sailed into Sydney on 4 October 2013 for the International Fleet Review, to commemorate 100 years of the First Australian Fleet sailing into Sydney Harbour.

Lieutenant Fern Dredge, Officer of the Watch conducted the pilotage on entry, said that the experience had been memorable.

“The entrance into Sydney Harbour for the review was the highlight of my career to date, and it was great to see that so many Australians had lined the Harbour foreshore to observe the ships entering,” she said.

As part of the pilotage entry into Sydney Harbour, Perth also circumnavigated Cockatoo Island before berthing at Barangaroo, Darling Harbour - a feat which had only been conducted once before by a ship of her class.

Perth returned home in mid-October from her MIDPAC deployment. Overall, Perth had a very busy and very successful year; she is currently conducting another maintenance period to ensure she is ready for another busy year in 2014.