Australia’s final Adelaide-class frigate bows out of service

The Royal Australian Navy Adelaide-class guided missile frigate HMAS Melbourne retired in a ceremony at her home port of Garden Island in Sydney after 27 years of service.

Photo: Royal Australian Navy

The 138m-long ship was decommissioned on October 26 as the last remaining of six built for the Australian Navy.

Melbourne has steamed more than 900,000 nautical miles, deployed on operations to the Middle East eight times and earned battle honours for service in East Timor, the Persian Gulf and Middle East.

She spent most of 2018 and 2019 deployed overseas, including a four-month deployment through north Asia earlier this year where she conducted international maritime surveillance operations to enforce sanctions against North Korea.

“The motto of HMAS Melbourne is, she gathers strength as she goes, and for 27 years she has served the Navy with distinction, playing an important role in protecting Australia’s maritime interests,” Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said at the ceremony.

“Thousands of men and women have called this ship home since she was commissioned in 1992, and for some, Melbourne represents key milestones in their lives and careers.”

The frigates are being replaced by the Hobart-class guided missile destroyers, which will provide Australia with an improved war fighting capability.

The Australian government is yet to make a decision on the recently-retired HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Newcastle.

The first four ships were either scuttled or disposed but media reports from the past two years have indicated that the frigates could be sold to other navies. Greece and Poland have previously expressed interest in buying the frigates.

It is worth noting that Greece signed an official letter of intent with France earlier this month for the potential buy of two Belharra frigates, an export version of the FTI frigates which are currently being built for the French Navy.

HMAS Melbourne sails into Fleet Base East, Sydney for the final time prior to decommissioning.Photo: Royal Australian Navy