Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland has sailed into one of the world’s most iconic harbours at the beginning of a week-long visit to Australia’s biggest city.
HMS Sutherland arrived in Sydney today [Fri 9 Mar 18], her fourth stop on the continent since leaving her home base of Devonport in January.
On a warm but rather overcast late summer’s morning, the Plymouth-based warship exchanged a ceremonial gun salute with the Royal Australian Navy before the skirl of bagpipes swirled around HMAS Kuttabul, the RAN naval base in the shadow of Sydney’s two most famous landmarks: the opera house and, beyond it, the harbour bridge.
“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.”
He also praised his Royal Australian Navy hosts who had “gone out of their way” to assist the Brits, 11,000 miles from their home port..
The Australian element of the frigate’s deployment is centred on promoting British industry and the export opportunities presented by the Royal Navy’s next generation of frigates.
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.
Sydney is the fourth and final stop in Australia after visits to Fremantle (Perth), Adelaide and, most recently, Melbourne.
Since leaving the latter city, the frigate has joined in the Australian Fleet’s largest exercise of the year, Ocean Explorer, linking with the tanker Sirius, frigate Parramatta and the Australian flagship, helicopter/amphibious assault ship HMAS Canberra in the waters between the mainland and Tasmania.
From Australia, Sutherland’s seven-month Asia Pacific deployment moves on to Japan and then the South China Sea.