The crew of the nation’s newest guided missile destroyer, HMAS Sydney (V), have received a warm welcome at the ship’s first port visit, after sailing north from her namesake to Newcastle.
HMAS Sydney was welcomed with a four-gun salute from Fort Scratchley at Flagstaff Hill as she entered the Hunter River. The impact of the gun salute was not lost on the crew of Sydney, who said they were impressed by the acknowledgement.
“This is HMAS Sydney’s first port visit outside of her home port of Fleet Base East in Sydney, after commissioning at sea only three weeks ago on 18 May,” said Maritime Logistics Officer Lieutenant Commander Kristen Russo.
“We did not expect such a warm welcome and the entire crew appreciate the gesture from the city of Newcastle to the Navy’s newest warship.”
Sydney was built in Australia by the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance and when commissioned her principle role will be the provision of air defence to RAN task groups engaged in maintaining maritime security. To that end, Sydney will carry an MH-60R helicopter for surveillance and response to support key warfare areas.
Sydney will also be capable of supporting land forces and protecting important infrastructure in coastal areas.
The visit to Newcastle was an important component of the ship’s preparation for future deployments. The stated purpose was to test duty watch systems and port visit routines, prior to Sydney departing for its US Combat Systems Sea Qualification Trials deployment.
Planned for the first half of 2021, the test will see Sydney try out its Aegis Weapons System, in close collaboration with the US Navy.
The Commanding Officer of HMAS Sydney, Commander Edward Seymour, was positive about the opportunities the visit provided.
“Being one of Australia’s most important and busiest ports, as well as the largest export port on the east coast, it’s entirely appropriate that HMAS Sydney’s first port visit was to Newcastle,” he said.
“We received a very warm reception and it was evident that Novocastrians are up to date with the latest news on their Royal Australian Navy with many locals coming close to the ship to have a look at the newest addition to our fleet.
“We hope next time Sydney visits Newcastle to be able to open the ship to visitors.”