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Australia retires third Armidale-class patrol boat

Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Maitland decommissioning date
Royal Australian Navy file photo of HMAS Maitland

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has decommissioned Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Maitland in a ceremony at HMAS Coonawarra, Darwin, after 16 years of service.

Maitland is the third ship in its class to retire, after HMAS Pirie bowed out of service in 2021 and HMAS Bundaberg was lost in a fire outbreak in 2014. Australia built a total of 14 boats between 2004 and 2008.

HMAS Maitland is named after the City of Maitland in NSW, and the World War II naval training establishment located in Newcastle, NSW. Since commissioning in 2006, the vessel has worked alongside Border Force, Australian Fisheries and the Australian Federal Police on various operations.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, recognized the service of Maitland’s crew.

“HMAS Maitland and the men and women who have served in her, have made a significant contribution to our national interest,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

“Through their professionalism and dedication, the crew have protected our nation’s borders and offshore maritime interests from illegal activity such as unauthorised entry and customs breaches, and upheld immigration and drugs legislation.

“Today, we reflect on that contribution while looking to our future.

“Navy will be transitioning to 12 Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels, which have much greater range and endurance than the Armidale Class patrol boats,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

The Arafura-class vessels, the first of which is set to enter service this year after launching in December 2021, will carry three sea boats larger than that of the Armidale-class, increasing the navy’s capacity to patrol Australia’s maritime territory and near region.