HMS Sutherland sailed into Sydney for the beginning of a week-long visit to Australia’s biggest city.

“Thank you, Sydney, for a great welcome,” said the frigate’s Commanding Officer, Commander Andrew Canale. “We’re looking forward to a packed programme over the next few days.”

According to a press release:

“The Australian element of the Fighting Clan’s deployment is centred on encouraging the Royal Australian Navy to buy British – from the Great Britain campaign celebrating the best of UK industry and talent… through to encouraging Canberra to ‘go British’ when it replaces its warships.

The Royal Australian Navy is about to invest massively in its frigate force, with Britain pushing the Type 26 and 31 – which will replace Sutherland and her 12 sisters over the next 18 years – as one of the designs.”

Recently, Type 23 Frigate HMS Sutherland conducted a ‘Sovereignty Patrol’ as part of her entry into Gibraltar.

Originally designed for anti-submarine warfare in the North Atlantic, the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates have proven their versatility peace-keeping and maritime security operations. Thirteen Type 23 frigates remain in service with the Royal Navy, with three vessels having been sold to Chile and handed over to the Chilean Navy.

Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, said:

“Gibraltar is of great importance to the UK, our Armed Forces and our allies. It has provided vital assistance to operations and exercises over the years, perhaps best demonstrated by the recent support to the UK’s hurricane relief effort in the Caribbean.

We are absolutely steadfast in our support of Gibraltar, its people and its economy and will fully involve Gibraltar as we prepare to exit the European Union.”

This comes as HMS Sutherland sailed on a deployment to Australia, the Far East and the Gulf region. In a ‘period of ongoing tension in the Korean peninsula’, the Type 23 Frigate will be available to ‘work closely with our regional partners, including US, Japanese and South Korean, and participate in joint training and exercises’ say the MoD.

Speaking during a visit to the Devonport Naval Base, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“Our already strong defence ties with allies in the Asia Pacific area will be deepened further by this deployment. At a time when North Korea’s illegal weapons programme is causing global concern, the deployment of these two Royal Navy ships is a clear demonstration of the UK’s commitment to the peace and prosperity of the region.”

Commander Andrew Canale, the ship’s captain, said:

“This is an opportunity for HMS Sutherland to demonstrate the global reach of the Royal Navy as well as the UK’s commitment to building relationships and maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific region. A deployment of this nature means that we must be prepared to respond to any eventuality.

I am very proud of the Ship’s Company and the many support organisations who have assisted HMS Sutherland to deploy two months ahead of her planned departure date. Having just returned from Christmas leave, I am acutely aware of the sacrifices that our families are also making and I am grateful for their support as we embark on this period away from home.”

12 COMMENTS

  1. I think the Aussies are too hung up on trying to be an American clone state, to ever buy big British kit again.

    When they don’t buy American they tend to go for the cheapest alternative, which is almost never the British option, if we even have what they’re looking for as an option that is.

    • Perhaps mac Australia finally realises that with a limited budget and population, it needs to make the most of efficiencies gained from commonality and economies of scale with the US. Interoperability with one of our closest and largest allies is also an important consideration when buying military equipment. Also, when purchasing US equipment, you know there will be a funded upgrade pathway. Can you imagine HMAS Arunta pulling into Pearl Harbour and asking the US Navy to top her up with Sea Ceptor!

      Also. buying “expensive” does not guarantee a quality product eg the Type 45.

      12 x Aegis/CEC/12 x Shortfin Barracuda/9 x Future Frigates/3 x Hobarts/2 x Cantabrias/2 x LHDs/8 x C17s/75 x F35As/12 x Growlers/24 x Super Hornets/7 x MRTT/15 x P8s/7 x Triton/10 X x27J Spartan does not suggest the “cheapest alternative”. France and Spain are represented within those purchases.

    • With respect we (as an Australian)) have recently ordered 3 types of Spanish ships (LHD, DDG and AOR. Our current frigates are German design (MEKO) equipped with a Swedish Combat system and we have just selected a French design for our next SSG.

      • Not a great deal of reliability in a fair amount of that equipment I note. I think the UK gets so het up over its own problems when making comparisons it starts to look like self flagellation at times. The total subjugation to the concept of German technological superiority is a particularly depressing factor in the UK, not helped I accept by particular ineptitude here in the past with our own products yet at the very top in engineering our capabilities match or exceed anyone else’s but seldom if ever get any praise ARM and F1 being but 2 examples of superiority. But personally I am getting a bit pissed off with the failure rates in German products that I buy often at greater cost to the alternatives and now actively look elsewhere first. Thats not to lump all German tech into this criticism but the mythical status it has really is becoming ridiculous and self perpetuating at times where one gets the innate response that if it goes wrong ‘well no one could have done better’ while too often we take the attitude when its our own ‘typical British it breaks down’. Sure we have ourself to blame to a degree but really lets try to escape this knee-jerk attitude.

        A little more objectivity just might help and the Type 23 has been an excellent class of ship over its lifetime.

        Problems in naval design her tend to occur over compromises forced upon the design and engineering staff to save money like forcing over sized reactors into submarines. In the circumstances they often do a fabulous job with usual British ingenuity to make things work, other times less so but that is not significantly different to other Nations, we just seem to celebrate our failures with the press as chorus leader. I really do wonder what the reaction would be if our armed forces were in the state that the German armed forces are in at present. Often perceived capabilities/facts are more down to ones mindset/expectations rather than the facts giving the true perception and thats the state of mind we have got into in this country. But hey they are German so it can’t be any fault or incompetence of their making. Can we just get real for a change even just a little bit and just question some of our self criticism. It does get depressing with the cynic level turned up to 11 so often… and this comes from a confirmed cynic.

  2. As an anglophile nation, like our N.Z, U.S, and Canadian cousins, I’m delighted to see a RN ships visiting Australia.

  3. Re “…Royal Australian Navy is about to invest massively in its frigate force, with Britain pushing the Type 26 and 31…”

    Only Type 26. Type 31 not part of Australia’s new frigate selection process, and never has been.

    Decision due in April.

  4. Neglected to add that it is great to see the RN in Sydney. The arrival of Sutherland made the ABC news in Sydney. Well done.

  5. as a proud aussie, I’m happy with what our government has done upgrading the ADF. but I to wish we had Arleigh burke destroys, instead of the Hobart Class, and I do have my fingers cross that we purchase the TYPE 26.

    Cheers happy Aussie

    • Thank you nice to hear some positivity about British products, it actually looks an excellent product in the making and no doubt better still if the Australians, Canadians and perhaps others can all bring their own particular expertise to the programme.

    • Buying Spanish was all about cost not capability, regardless of what the government are saying. They are frequently broke and in some cases not meet their designed operational capability (we stuck more equipment on them than they can comfortably use. I suppose it is a case of you spend your money you take your chance.

  6. Good to see RN in these parts again. As children dad took us over Invincible, Illustrious and Ark Royal in Fremantle harbour. Showing the flag after being in the South Atlantic I guess, it left an impression.

    RAN has done well purchasing a decent capability on what seems a reasonable cost. Have no idea if the T31 will be adopted, but hope whatever is has decent ability. Cannot wait to see QE or POW in Australian waters.

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