The 12th of February was a significant day for HMA Ships Warramunga and Arunta.
Not only did Warramunga’s crew swap platforms into Arunta, the Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett, was also on hand to present the Australia Cup to Arunta’s ship’s company, who will act as custodians for the award that was earned by Warramunga for their achievements in 2013.
The Australia Cup is awarded annually to the Fleet Unit that has achieved the highest standard of Marine Engineering efficiency and serviceability and is the most prestigious annual engineering honour bestowed on a Major Fleet Unit. This is the third time Warramunga’s Marine Engineering department has received the coveted award, having previously held the trophy in 2006 and 2008.
Commanding Officer, Commander David Tietzel, reflected on Warramunga’s training philosophy and the courage displayed by the ships crew through the significant challenges faced in 2013, as the catalysts for Warramunga’s achievements.
“It was fitting that we received the award together as two ships and one ship’s company,” he said.
The two ships, Warramunga and Arunta, share historical significance in the Royal Australian Navy, taking their names from Tribal Class destroyers that served in WWII. The historical context was not lost on Commander Tietzel.
“The scenario of the two ships being tied together evoked a resemblance of the handovers of WWII, where the ships handed over fuel, ammunition and stores before one was repaired from battle as the other proceeded to battle,” he said.
With upgrade work nearing completion, Arunta is the second Anzac class frigate to go through the Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) upgrade. The ASMD upgrade provides a significant enhancement in capability for the Royal Australian Navy. The project has equipped Arunta with new forward and aft masts, fitted with leading-edge Phased Array Radar and other sensor systems; all controlled utilising a new state-of-the-art Combat Management System and an advanced Operations Room.
Arunta’s new crew were challenged to love her as they previously loved Warramunga. Referring to the crew transition, Commander Tietzel said “as we re-energise her (Arunta), we breathe back into her the very life that she so rightly deserves and we make her the warship she is, rather than a lump of steel owned by the dockyard.”
On the day, the ship’s company were emboldened to wear the ships patch with pride and breathe life back into the ship in a manner that honours the ships motto ‘Conquer or Die.’
With the crew now attached, Arunta is well and truly alive and ready for the challenges ahead.