The Royal Australian Navy’s oldest active Adelaide Class warship, HMAS Melbourne (III), has returned to Australia following her final three-month deployment throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, AM, said Melbourne’s final deployment saw her successfully complete a range of essential maritime security operations with partner nations.
"True to her motto ‘She Gathers Strength As She Goes’, Melbourne’s last deployment was no easy wind-down, with the ship supporting international efforts to enforce United Nations sanctions on North Korea," RADM Mead said.
"During almost three decades of service, Melbourne has continued to excel at every task she has been assigned, which is why the ship was recently awarded the Gloucester Cup for the most proficient ship in the fleet."
The 18th and final Commanding Officer of HMAS Melbourne, Commander Marcus Buttler, said he was pleased the ship’s company had kept up a high tempo until the end of the ship’s service life.
"I am immensely proud of Melbourne and her crew for remaining acutely focused during an exceptionally busy deployment far from home and their families," CMDR Buttler said.
HMAS Melbourne is one of the RAN's three Adelaide Class guided missile frigates. The ship is a long-range escort prioritised for area air defence and fully capable of surface and undersea warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction.
"Over the past three months they have played a key role in deterring illicit trade with North Korea, participated in China’s International Fleet Review and have conducted goodwill port visits to our partners across the region. We now look forward to visiting several ports in Australia, including a farewell visit to our namesake city of Melbourne where the ship was built," CMDR Buttler explained.
During this visit, Melbourne will conduct a Freedom of Entry march through the city of Melbourne and an open day where the public will be able to inspect the ship for the last time.
HMAS Melbourne can counter simultaneous threats from aircraft, surface vessels and submarines. In order to maintain her effectiveness against contemporary threats, the ship underwent a significant upgrade in the mid-2000s. This included upgrades to the combat system, radars, sensors and new missiles.
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HMAS Melbourne is the final Adelaide Class Frigate to be withdrawn from service and will be decommissioned in Sydney on 26 October 2019.