During maritime operations spanning the globe, Darwin steamed more than a million nautical miles and has been involved in operations in the Middle East seven times, as well as in East Timor and the Solomon Islands.
In 2016, Darwin made three seizures of heroin worth $800 million off the coast of Africa.
Darwin and her five sister frigates HMA Ships Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle were the first Royal Australian Navy ships to be powered by gas turbines for its main propulsion.
The long-range escort frigate's principal weapons are the standard medium-range anti-aircraft missile and Harpoon anti-ship missile, both of which are launched from the Mk 13 launcher on the forecastle. A 76mm gun to counter both aircraft and surface threats is fitted forward of the funnel and one 20mm Phalanx close-in weapon system for anti-missile defence is located above the helicopter hangars.
For long range anti-submarine tasks, Darwin is equipped with a flight deck and hangars for two Seahawk helicopters. The Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk is an all weather, twin engine, three-crew helicopter. Its primary role is undersea warfare, for which it carries a range of sonobuoys and can deliver up to two torpedoes. Other roles include over the horizon targeting, surveillance, boarding support, search and rescue and utility operations. Its sensors include radar, forward looking infrared and a magnetic anomaly detector. For close-in anti-submarine defence, the ship is fitted with two Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes.
Darwin was commissioned on 21 July 1984 and will be decommissioned at a formal ceremony at Fleet Base East on 9 December 2017.