HMAS Parramatta (FFH-154) is part of the ANZAC-class of fighting frigates serving the modern Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The class comprises a dozen warships built to the standard with ten of these serving with the RAN and the remaining two with the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). The warships are a localized variant of the original German export-minded "MEKO 200" type by Blohm and Voss with some 25 total warships completed for various customers around the world.
For their part, ANZAC-class vessels were built from 1993 into 2006 and commissioned service began in 1997.
Parramatta, the fifth of the eight RAN ships, was laid down on April 24th, 1999 by Tenix Defence (Williamstown) and launched on June 17th, 2000. She was formally commissioned into active service with the RAN on October 4th, 2003 and continues to serve the fleet today despite her twenty-plus years at sea. She is assigned to Fleet Base East and fights under the motto of "Strike Deep".
As a fighting frigate on the modern battlefield, Parramatta is deployed as a "multi-mission" platform capable of tackling equally-modern threats emerging from the air, on the surface of the water, and under the water itself. Her shallow draught allows her to participant in offshore actions supporting amphibious operations and inland work while her inherent speed makes it so she can operate as part of the main fighting force or an individual entity on patrol or in the deterrence / defense role. The ship's versatility is reflected in its broad armament array which includes ballistic, missile, and torpedo weapons.
As built, the warship has a displacement of 3,600 tonnes under full load. Her length measures 387 feet with a beam of 49 feet and a draught of 13 feet. Aboard is a complement of some 170 sailors under typical operating conditions and drive power stems from a single General Electric LM2500 gas turbine of 30,000 horsepower mated to 2 x MTU 12V 1163 TB83 series marine diesels outputting 8,840 horsepower. This arrangement propels the warship to speeds of 27 knots in open water and out to a range of 6,000 nautical miles.
The ship carries the Thomson Sintra Spherion B Mod 5 sonar system in the hull and supports a towed array unit as well. The Raytheon AN/SPS-49(V)8 ANZ C/D-band fit serves as the air-search radar solution while the CelsiusTech 9LV 453 TIR (Ericsson Tx/Rx) G-band unit satisfies the surface-search requirement of the ship. The navigation suite is the Atlas Elektronik 9600 series ARPA I-band system. A full countermeasures and ESM suite is also carried to deal with modern aerial, surface, and undersea threats at range.
The late-Cold War origins show through in the design lines of Parramatta: protrusions are noted all across the hull and superstructure where the mast works sit exposed showcasing all manner of systems, communications, and processing components. Hand rails line the hull sides and elevated decks about the warship's layout. The ship's silhouette includes a turreted deck gun over the forecastle and a stepped superstructure design with the bridge detailed by its use of large viewing panes. The smoke funnels are of a low-profile configuration and seated at midships. Over the stern is the helipad with unfettered access to the hangar area. The helipad supports a single Sikorsky MH-60R "Seahawk" navy helicopter typically outfitted for the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) role.
The armament suite includes the proven 5" (127mm) /54 caliber Mk 45 Mod 2 turreted deck gun over the bow and twin 4-cell "Harpoon" anti-ship missile launchers are fielded. There is also the Mk 41 Mod 5 Vertical Launch System (VLS) supporting the "Sea Sparrow" and "Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile" (ESSM) medium-ranged, surface-to-air solutions for countering inbound airborne threats. Twin 324mm triple Mk 32 Mod 5 torpedo tubes are mounted as an anti-ship, anti-submarine solution. Beyond this is a modest network of machine guns for extreme-close-in actions including 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HGM)" Typhoon" mounts.
The Fire Control System (FCS) is made up of the CelsiusTech 9LV 453 J-band unit and weapons control handled by the CelsiusTech 9LV 453 Mk.3 Link 11 system.
After commissioning in 2003, Parramatta has remained a core component of RAN actions in and around Australia and has been on station in Middle East waters several times, the first of these voyages being held in 2005 (by way of Operation Catalyst). From 2015 to 2016, she was given an upgrade to her anti-ship missile suite to make the ship more viable to newer at-sea threats and, in 2019, she participated in Operation Argos for sanctions enforcement against the North Korean hermit kingdom.
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