Home Asia Pacific Australia retires fifth Armidale-class patrol boat Wollongong

Australia retires fifth Armidale-class patrol boat Wollongong

HMAS Wolongong
HMAS Wollongong sits alongside Fleet Base East in Sydney, NSW for the final time before the ship's decommissioning in it's homeport of Cairns. Photo: Australian defense ministry

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has decommissioned Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Wollongong in a ceremony at HMAS Cairns after 15 years of service.

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley, attended the ceremony and recognized the service of the ship’s company.

“HMAS Wollongong and the crews who have served in the vessel have made a significant contribution to our national interest,” Rear Admiral Earley said. “These professional and dedicated men and women have protected our nation’s borders and offshore maritime interests from illegal activity.”

HMAS Wollongong is the fifth ship in its class to retire, after HMAS Pirie was decommissioned in 2021, and HMAS Maitland and HMAS Glenelg retired in April and October this year. HMAS Bundaberg was lost in a fire outbreak in 2014. Australia built a total of 14 boats between 2004 and 2008.

The RAN is transitioning to 12 new Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels, which have greater range and endurance than existing boats. This will allow the Navy to protect Australia’s interests over long distances and in more complex maritime environments.

HMAS Wollongong has protected Australia against unauthorized entry, breaches of customs, fisheries protection, and upheld immigration and drugs legislation. The vessel has served as part of Operations AUGURY, SOLANIA, and APEC ASSIST, as well as the 2019 G20 Summit in Japan.