Australian Armidale Class Problems

fred henderson
19th February 2007, 11:51
It seems that the new Australian designed and built Armidale Class Patrol Boats are having some basic engineering difficulties.
In September 2006 the entire class was "grounded" because of noxious fumes that hospitalised four sailors. After a month of investigation and rectification it was announced that the problem was caused by water contamination in the fuel system of three boats. After redesign of the engineering controls the boats were returned to service in October 2006.
The problem has not been solved however, with continued contamination of the main engine fuel system that has led to subsequent fuel pump failures. The RAN has re-instated operational restrictions on the patrol boat fleet until further notice.


Jan Hendrik
5th March 2007, 05:45
I am not an expert on naval vessels. The photos here show two naval vessels berthed alongside Station Pier in Melbourne today.
I was quite surprised that the larger vessel (06) needed the assistance of two huge harbour tugboats to move her from the quay.
The last photo shows her moving out under her own steam.
Do not understand the waste of money to get this assistance and I wonder how they manage in case of war…..

Brian Twyman
5th March 2007, 07:31
Hi Jan
Ship 06 is HMAS Newcastle, Guided Missile Frigate.
Ship 87 is HMAS Yarra. Minehunter.

(Not for a Kiwi to answer your questions !! ) [=P]


Jan Hendrik
5th March 2007, 07:40
Thanks for that Brian.
There was another posting in the Gallery by SeaDog today from practically the same spot.
Perhaps we were standing next to each other taking the photos....

fred henderson
6th March 2007, 12:01
Newcastle is one of 6 American "Oliver Hazard Perry" class serving in the Royal Australian Navy. Four were built in USA and the last two, including Newcastle were built in Williamstown.
They were built in very large numbers in USA (around 50 ships) between 1979 and 1989. They have been a very successful design and bought by a number of other countries. They do have one unusual feature however. To contain cost their main machinery is one half of the twin screw system used in the Spraunce class destroyers. This provides 41,000 hp on a single shaft in the Perrys, which enables these 3,600 ton ships to achieve 29kts, but makes them a pig to handle in a confined area. They have two retractable electric propulsors forward, but they only provide 4 Knots and are useless in a strong wind.
From the flags in the photo, it seems to have been a windy day. The cost of hiring two tugs is small compared to the cost of repairing the potential damage to the frigate.


Jan Hendrik
6th March 2007, 12:45
Thanks for the expertise answer Fred,
In Williamstown they completed the ANZAC frtigates of course and as far as I am aware there is only a small sistership to the OTAGO left to be finalised, to be named WELLINGTON.

The Spirit of Tasmania which dwarves both naval vessels and was berthed in front does of course not require tug assistance, also because of a bow thruster.
best regards,

Brian Twyman
7th March 2007, 03:58

Thanks for that, great to be still learning things about warships !

26th March 2007, 06:12
Hi Jan,

I served on the Mighty Warship Darwin, (04) one of Newcastle's sister ships. The retractable propulsors that Fred referred to are Auxillary Propulsion Units (APUs) and can be aligned in such a way that there is no need for tugs. Basically, one APU is used to balance the forward thrust of the propellor and the other is aligned to push the bow sideways. The main prop is a CPP, so the Stern is "walked" to (or from the wharf) using the paddlewheel effect. If the vessel is berthing against the padlewheel effect, then the rudder is used to assist manoeuvering the stern. It is a fairly standard practice to have the tugs connected in case of an emergency, but with no weight on the lines.
Although the Spirit of Tasmania didn't use tugs, that is more to do with the different standards of risk management by the relevant operators rather than any significant ship manoeuvrability issues. Although the Adelaide Class FFGs (the Aussie version of the Oliver Hazard Perrys) do suffer from windage for their size, it is hard to argue with 2 x 40,000hp Gast Turbines operating on one shaft.

Brian Twyman
26th March 2007, 11:50
Thanks navig8, must be fun driving those ships.

26th March 2007, 12:31
The RN is just as bad over here when it comes to berthing/unberthing.
I regularly see the Hunt class Minesweepers berthing on the Forth, almost always with 2 tugs.
Now these ships are only 60m long, have a bowthrust, are twin screw AND have CPP.
Naturally, many of the coastal Masters and Pilots who pass the aforementioned are known to make the odd unkind remark about the standard of shiphandling in the RN...

N.B. The largest ship I was on that berthed without the aid of Tugs was 193m in length and 27m wide. Twin screw, CPP and a bowthrust, just like the Hunt class!
The Largest ship I was on that berthed without tugs and was a 'bog standard' tanker 176m long, 40m wide with a 7m draft. Standard right handed prop hooked up to a reversible B&W and standard rudder, NO bowthrust.
The Old Man (who had been sailing on VLCCs for the previous 20 years) made it look easy in a Force 5 wind blowing us off the berth, dredging the Stbd anchor to swing her onto the berth. Naturally this was then used to pull us off after discharge, pivoted the ship 180 degrees around the anchor and off we went to sea. It was a technique I'd seen quite often during my days on coasters (circa 75 - 80m LOA), but never on a big ship.

Brian Twyman
6th April 2007, 12:52
There are other factors which warships have to consider when berthing or unberthing. For example, Naval Operating Instructions or Harbour Regulations may require the use of pilots and/or tugs whether or not the warship wants or requires them.

(I have personally been scolded for telling two tugs to keep out of the way when they arrived unrequested and asked for instructions ! ) (Ouch)