Surface Forces: July 16, 2005


Australia recently commissioned the first of twelve Armidale-class patrol boats. These twelve ships will patrol Australias vast northern coastline. The Armidales will replace the 25 year old Fremantle class boats. The Fremantles were British designed, and not very successful. They had stability problems, and a long list of lesser complaints. The Armidales were designed to overcome all of the Freemantles shortcomings. The Armidales are longer (188 feet) than the 138 foot long Freemantles. The two classes have the same crew size, 24, although the Armidales also have accommodations for another 20 passengers (special forces, or whatever). The Armidales have a cruising speed of 40 kilometers per hour, and a range of 5,400 kilometers. Armament consists of a 25mm automatic cannon. Also carried are two rigid inflatable boats, which allow the crew to carry out boarding and surveillance operations. The Armidales are built to be at sea up to 250 days a year. Primary missions are coastal patrol, interception of smuggler ships and illegal fishing. 


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