The crew of HMAS Arunta had double cause for celebration recently as they marked the ship’s 21st birthday and their return from a successful deployment to Southeast Asia.
Launched on 28 June 1996 and commissioned on 12 December 1998, Arunta is the second of eight Australian Anzac Class Frigates built by Tenix Defence Systems at Williamstown, Victoria.
The ship recently completed the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) upgrade at Henderson Shipyard, Western Australia - the first of the class to receive the major capability boost.
Arunta’s Commanding Officer, Commander Troy Duggan, said the celebration marked the end of a busy year, after a successful post-AMCAP deployment and an extremely busy time spent getting Arunta out of the shipyard.
“Celebrating the ship’s birthday honours the dedication and sacrifice of all those who have served in Arunta throughout her commission, as well as the support of our families and friends,” he said.
The crew shared a birthday cake onboard, which in keeping with long-standing tradition, was cut by the Commanding Officer and the youngest member of the ship’s company, Seaman Boatswains Mate Jett Mitchell.
“It was a real honour to be a part of the birthday celebrations on board, and to serve in such a fantastic ship with such a proud history,” Seaman Mitchell said.
Arunta is now one of the most advanced frigates in the world after undergoing the AMCAP upgrade, with a new communications suite, improved platform systems and crew habitability, and a cutting-edge air search radar developed by Australian company CEA Technologies.
The AMCAP upgrade is being implemented by Australian industry through a strategic partnership between the Commonwealth of Australia, BAE Systems, SAAB Australia, and Naval Ship Management Australia.
Since her commissioning, Arunta has served her country tirelessly, participating in multiple operations and exercises and sailing more than 544,000 nautical miles - equivalent to 25 times around the equator, or further than the moon and back.
The current Arunta is the second Australian warship to carry the name.
HMAS Arunta (I) was a Tribal Class Destroyer commissioned in 1942, and served with distinction in New Guinea and the Pacific between 1942–1944, and at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944 and Lingayen Gulf in 1945.