HMAS Ballarat has departed Fleet Base West in Western Australia to conduct maritime security operations as part of Operation Manitou in the Middle East.
HMAS Ballarat (II) is the sixth of eight Anzac Class frigates built by Tenix Defence Systems at Williamstown, Victoria for the Royal Australian Navy, the design is based on the German MEKO 200 frigate.
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said Ballarat would work as part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), an international coalition to interrupt the illegal drug trade that funds terrorism.
"For 28 years, Australian warships have made significant contributions to peace and security in the region," Minister Pyne said.
Assistant Minister for Defence David Fawcett and Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, joined family and friends to farewell the ship and loved ones for their nine-month deployment to Operation Manitou.
Senator Fawcett highlighted the commitment of the men and women of Ballarat and the Royal Australian Navy’s presence in the Middle East region.
"For decades, the men and women of the Royal Australian Navy have regularly seized drugs and other illegal cargoes from the high seas. Ballarat will protect Australia’s national interests abroad and further advance Australia’s high standing with our allies, together making a significant difference to global security," he said.
Ballarat is a long-range frigate capable of air defence, surface and undersea warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction. Ballarat's combat capabilities have been significantly improved under the Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade program, a program that provides an enhanced sensor and weapons systems capability.
"Australia has a long standing commitment to the Combined Maritime Forces in the Middle East region, and Ballarat is the latest Royal Australian Navy vessel committed to this fight against terrorist operations," Minister Pyne said.