- A.N. Other and NHSA Webmaster
- History - general, Ship histories and stories
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- RAN Ships
- HMAS Anzac III
- March 2011 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
The third ship to carry the proud name of Anzac was the lead ship of a class of ten similar vessels built by Transfield Defence Industries, later known as Tenix Defence Systems, at Williamstown, Victoria. Two of the class were built on behalf of the Royal New Zealand Navy.
‘Meko’ Class and Built in Australia
Selected in 1989, the design (based upon the German ‘Meko’ class) used modular construction methods, allowing parallel fabrication of ship sections in a number of covered facilities, minimising weather effects and resulting in an overall reduction in building times. Given the complexity of the task the program was well executed, with Anzac being laid down in November 1993 and commissioned in less than three years, in May 1996. Follow-on ships were delivered in record time at the rate of about one per year, with the last of the ship class, HMAS Perth, commissioning in August 2006.
Machinery and Armaments
These multi-role ships are fitted with combined diesel or gas turbine propulsion (CODOG) with gas turbines generally being used for high speeds and diesel engines for normal cruising. Propulsion is via two controllable pitched propellers. They have an effective weapon system of a single 127 mm (5 inch) gun, two quad Harpoon missile launchers, vertical launch system for Sea-Sparrow anti-air missiles and lightweight ASW torpedos. A Seahawk helicopter is also carried to enhance anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities. The ships have a conventional hull form but are easily recognised with their outwardly raked funnels.
In October 1997 Anzac, in company with the tanker HMAS Westralia, was deployed on Southern Ocean patrol of Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone in search of Foreign Fishing Vessels (FFVs) illegally taking fishing stock. Using boarding parties inserted by Seahawk, two FFVs were apprehended and then escorted back to the mainland.
In September 1999 Anzac was deployed to East Timor in support of the Australian- led International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) peacekeeping taskforce. Anzac was first deployed to the Middle East in early 2002 as a unit of Operation Relex, providing border protection and maritime intercept operations as part of the United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Following a refit at the Tenix shipyard at Henderson, WA and the subsequent work-up, Anzac was again deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2003 as part of Operation Falconer. In March 2003 Anzac, in company with Royal Naval frigates, began naval gunfire in direct support of the British-led Royal Marine Commando assault on Iraqi troops in the Al Faw Peninsula of southern Iraq. This was the first time in over 30 years that a ship of the RAN had fired in anger.
After the engagement the following message was received from 40 Commando: ‘The Al Faw vegetation belt has been successfully cleared of all enemy and the airport and other key military installations are now secure with no enemy resistance. Success was largely due to aggressive use of indirect fire assets and the swift and lethal response of respective units. Your bombardment and destruction of key military installations had a huge impact on the ground and shattered the enemy’s will to fight.’
Anzac departed Albany, WA on 11 March 2005 retracing the historic 1914 route of the World War I convoy of Australian and New Zealand forces to Gallipoli. She was in company with warships of Britain, France and Turkey marking the 90th anniversary of the landings. A photograph of Anzac taken on this occasion provides a stunning backdrop to the dawn service ceremony. The ship then proceeded to England as part of an International Fleet Review marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
In 2007 Anzac commenced her third deployment to the Persian Gulf where she was involved in sixty five boarding and security patrols over a period of six months. Anzac carries a fast 7.2 metre Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB) which provides invaluable support in encounters with, and boarding of, suspicious vessels. In keeping with the ‘Spirit of Anzac’ the RHIB is known as Lone Pine, which is also the name given to the ship’s canteen.
In March 2009 Anzac was one of seventeen warships involved in a ceremonial fleet entry and fleet review in Sydney Harbour. This was the largest number of RAN ships to be gathered together since the Australian Bicentenary in 1988.