HMAS Newcastle is one of the Royal Australian Navy’s Adelaide-class frigate, which is based on the US Navy’s Oliver Hazard Perry class. Six frigates were built between 1978 and 1992, with the first four built in the US and the remaining 2 built in Australia. As the aging class begins to decommission (Canberra in 2005 and Adelaide in 2008) they will be replaced by the Hobart-class air warfare destroyer.
HMAS Newcastle Replenishes at Sea in the Gulf of Aden
HMAS Newcastle’s Ship’s Company has battled through 35-degree heat and 97-percent humidity to complete multiple replenishment operations with the United States Naval Service ship USNS Patuxent in the Gulf of Aden, in the Middle East Area of Operations.
Newcastle was supplied with 400,000 litres of F44 and F76 fuel during the four-hour Replenishment At Sea – Liquids (RAS-L).
The RAS-L involved a large fuelling hose being extended from Patuxent to Newcastle to transfer the fuel.
Thirty-eight pallets of stores, mostly fresh food, were then transferred from Patuxent to Newcastle by heavy jackstay.
Petty Officer Boatswain (POB) Francis Standen said “heavy jackstays” were an important seamanship skill to have on a warship and it was good for the crew to successfully complete the evolution while on operations.
“We don’t get to conduct heavy jackstay very often, so the experience was great for the whole crew,” he said.
“Everyone did really well and it was great to see the whole ship’s company working together to get the job done,” POB Standen said.
Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics – Supply Chain (LSML-SC) Sarah Hickling said the food stores transferred from Patuxent to Newcastle during the Heavy Jackstay would keep her crew fed for several weeks.
“We took on frozen meat, potatoes, strawberries, mandarines and all kinds of tinned, frozen and dry food. We also took on stores for our canteen. Overall, we took on enough food to last us another two to three weeks,” LSML-S Hickling said.
The evolutions allowed Newcastle to continue her mission at sea, without having to visit a port to refuel and resupply.
The Adelaide Class Guided Missile Frigate (FFG) will conduct more RAS evolutions during her deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO).
Newcastle was in the area participating in a counter terrorism focused operation as part of the multi-national Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150).
Patuxent is a non-commissioned United States Naval Service oiler assigned to the replenishment taskforce, CTF 53.
CTF 150 is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 28-nation coalition based in Bahrain.
CTF 150’s Area of Operation (AOO) spans over two million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Oman. The task force exists to create a lawful and stable maritime environment free from terrorism, smuggling and other illegal activities.
Newcastle’s participation in CTF 150 is part of her assignment to Operation SLIPPER. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) contribution of a Major Fleet Unit in the Middle East Area of Operations as part of the international campaign against terrorism, counter smuggling and counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and enhancing regional maritime security and engagement.
Newcastle’s current deployment is the 55th rotation of an Australian warship to the MEAO since 1990. She is due to return to Australia in October, after handing over Operation SLIPPER duties to HMAS Melbourne.
Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20130651.