Friday, October 07, 2005

Australian Navy's Newest Ship Embraces The Past

The Australian Navy’s newest ship will be commissioned this weekend, and Brisbane will host the ceremony for the first time in many years. The 118-meter ANZAC class frigate will become the HMAS Toowoomba on Saturday.
“I name this ship Toowoomba. God bless her and all who sail in her.” With these time-honoured words, Launch Lady Ms Judy Blight began the sequence that saw the ninth Anzac Class frigate slide into the tranquil waters of Hobsons Bay, carrying on a proud name and the tradition of a happy ship. Ms Blight is the daughter of LCDR Howard Goodwin, the last Commanding Officer of the first HMAS Toowoomba.
She takes her name from a 1940's mine-hunting corvette that served in the Royal Australian Navy during World War Two. As part of the celebrations, the ship's helicopter paid a flying visit to schools in Toowoomba, giving the region’s youth a chance to learn more about naval defence. The ship's captain, Commander Greg Sammutt, says the vessel will be commissioned with all due pomp and ceremony. “We'll see the ship's company paraded before the ship, and we'll be manning the ship, we'll be cheering the ship, and after some speeches and some prayers, I'll be piped aboard the vessel as its commanding officer. “It's not a terribly long ceremony, but a particularly moving one,” Commander Sammutt says. It’s been many years since a ship was commissioned in Queensland. “The first Toowoomba was commissioned in Brisbane, in fact on the 9th of October in 1941. “Now on the 8th of October, 64 years later, the second Toowoomba will also commission in Brisbane.” This ship is one of eight built in Australia as part of a planned upgrade of the Royal Australian Navy. The ANZAC class frigates are used as long-range escort ships, and in warfare may be used for air defence, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance. Each ship has a five-inch (127mm) gun able to fire 20 rounds per minute, or one every three seconds. The ships also have the latest technological gadgetry, with air surveillance radars, sonar and a combat data system.

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