The Warrnambool community were granted a rare opportunity to see a warship on Tuesday, when HMAS Melbourne conducted a close proximity transit during her return voyage to her homeport Garden Island, Sydney.
As dusk set in, Melbourne launched her embarked S-70B Seahawk helicopter, affectionately known as Dominator, which released a short volley of flares. The flares are normally used for self protection should the helicopter come under attack from anti air missiles and were fired as part a routine Flight Training Exercise.
Melbourne is on the final stage of her return leg to Sydney, after a successful six month deployment on Operation SLIPPER, the ADF contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, counter smuggling and counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and enhancing regional maritime security and engagement.
The ship sailed from Sydney in August 2013 and while deployed intercepted over A$1 billion dollars of narcotics and apprehended nine suspected pirates.
Commander Schlegel says his ship’s company of 232 is getting excited to be so close to home.
“We have had an incredibly successful six months. Despite our success, it is always hard to be away from loved ones for so long. As we approach Sydney you can feel the ship’s excitement building,” said Commander Schlegel.
|HMAS MELBOURNE- SPECIFICATIONS|
|Speed||over 30 knots|
|Complement||184 + aircrew|
|Range||4,500 nautical miles|
Press Release, March 12, 2014, Image: Australian Navy