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Rumour mill gets it wrong: Scuttlebutt surrounding HMAS Anzac transfer to Philippines sinks

Lines are passed as HMAS Anzac returns from deployment to Fleet Base West in Western Australia. Photo: SMNMTE Richard Edwards

Rumours of a possible transfer agreement between Australia and the Philippines for the now-decommissioned HMAS Anzac (III) has spectacularly fizzled out.

Rumours of a possible transfer agreement between Australia and the Philippines for the now-decommissioned HMAS Anzac (III) has spectacularly fizzled out.

The Royal Australian Navy’s longest-serving commissioned vessel, HMAS Anzac (III), was officially farewelled during a decommissioning ceremony at the ship’s home port of HMAS Stirling in Perth earlier this month on 18 May.

Anzac was the lead ship of the Anzac Class frigates in use with the Royal Australian Navy since its launch in September 1994 and commissioning in May 1996. It was the third Royal Australian Navy ship to carry the name of the Australian legend.


In the months leading up the decommissioning, several Philippines defence blogs speculated the ship could be snapped up for a bargain basement price to strengthen the country’s maritime defence against increasingly hostile interactions with vessels from the People’s Liberation Army Navy and China’s fishing fleet.

Reports published online wagered that the Philippine Navy was considering HMAS Anzac as an option to supplement two South Korean corvettes expected to be delivered to the country in 2025 and 2026. Diplomatic sources were previously cited as confirming the theory.

In addition, it was speculated that HMAS Anzac was suitable for the Armed Forces of the Philippines due to it being 30 years younger than lead offshore patrol vessel BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PS-15, launched in 1965) as well as containing allegedly superior sensor and weaponry systems to that of lead guided missile frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150, launched 2019).

It’s understood that Australia has not received any official correspondence from the Philippine government or Navy regarding the acquisition of HMAS Anzac (III) at this time.

“HMAS Anzac is not suitable for sale. The majority of Anzac’s parts will be added to the supply chain in support of the remaining platforms in the class,” according to a statement from a Defence spokesperson on 30 May.

The now-dashed theories were also fuelled by Philippine AFP Chief General Romeo Brawner Jr, Defense Undersecretary for Strategic Assessment and Planning Ignacio Madriaga, and Naval Forces West head Commodore Alan Javier touring the Anzac Class frigate HMAS Warramunga (FFH-152) when it docked at Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, during a port visit earlier this year.

“The call and visit is part of the AFP’s military diplomacy activities aimed at strengthening military relations with partner nations. It is also covered under the Philippine-Australia Status of Visiting Forces Agreement,” according to Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs office chief Colonel Xerxes Trinidad, speaking at the time.

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