HMAS Sydney (FFG-03)

Sydney during the Gulf War. Note the light colored panels along the sides of her superstructure, which are radar absorbent material. US Department of Defense photo.

Laid Down

HMAS Sydney (FFG-03) was a guided missile frigate of the Royal Australian Navy. Sydney was the third Perry-class frigate built for the Australians, all six of which would be known as the Adelaide-class. Commissioned 29 January, 1983, Sydney spent the next year and a half training with the US Navy. Sydney's first crisis response came during the 1987 Fiji Coups, when she stood by to assist with the evacuation of Australian citizens. A refit followed, lasting into 1988, adding the Seahawk helicopter and Vulcan Phalanx CIWS to the arsenal, and stabilizers to the hull. 1990 saw Sydney kept busy, beginning with protecting civilians during the Bougainville Civil War in January, followed by a round the world cruise that involved the first RAN ship visiting Sweden and counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean. She wrapped up the year deploying to the Persian Gulf to help with Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Sydney was part of the escort force for the American carriers in the Gulf, and assisted with searching ships passing through. Most of the 90s saw Sydney keep busy with peacekeeping and search and rescue efforts around the globe. She also became the first Australian warship to visit Vladivostock in 1995. She made her fourth and fifth visits to the Persian Gulf in 2001 and 2003. She was rewarded with new electronics equipment, and a vertical launch system for the new ESSM surface to air missile. Issues with compatibility delayed final reactivation until 2008. 2009 saw Sydney lead a fleet review in her namesake port, and participate in another goodwill circumnavigation of the globe. By the time she participated in the 2013 International Fleet Review, Sydney was beginning to look a little rough around the edges. Her anchor chain broke in February, 2015, and she decommissioned soon after. Sydney was used as a training ship briefly, and the Navy offered her for use as a dive wreck. However, despite much support for the idea of her preservation, she was sold for scrapping in 2017.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: When Sydney was built, a bottle of MacNoughton Canadian Whisky was placed in her mast. The bottle was safely recovered during the scrapping process. It was apparently placed there secretly, at least in part because the RAN abolished the rum ration in 1921. One former crewman was quoted as bemoaning the fact that he had walked past it many times without knowing it was there.