The lead ship of the class, HMAS Armidale, entered service with the Royal Australian Navy in June 2005, and the last, HMAS Glenelg, in February 2008.

The Royal Australian Navy currently operates 12 Armidale-class patrol boats. This is a project to replace the previous 15 Fremantle-class patrol boats, which were started in 1993 as a joint project with the Royal Malaysian Navy. After Malaysia withdrew, the Royal Australian Navy returned to the project in 1999, as SEA 1444. A total of 14 ships were built, but one of the vessels, Bundaberg , was destroyed in a major fire in 2014. And most recently, the Pirie, was retired on March 26, 2021.

The lead ship of the class, HMAS Armidale, entered service with the Royal Australian Navy in June 2005, and the last, HMAS Glenelg, in February 2008. The Armidale class was built with the primary purpose of border protection, fisheries patrols, and the interception of unauthorised arrivals by sea. Compared to their predecessors, the Armidale class is longer and heavier, with a standard displacement of 300 tons, a length of 56.8 m, a beam of 9.7 m, and a draft of 2.7 m.

Armidale-class
Armidale-class

The hull is of the semi-displacement vee type, and is fabricated from aluminum alloy, for high-speed light craft and RAN requirements. The Armidales can travel at a maximum speed of 25 knots, and are driven by two propeller shafts, each connected to an MTU 4000 16V diesel engine, providing 6,225 horsepower. The ships have a range of 3,000 nautical miles at 12 knots, allowing them to patrol the waters around the distant territories of Australia. The vessels are designed for standard patrols of 21 days, with a maximum endurance of 42 days.

The main armament of the Armidale class is a Rafael Typhoon stabilised 25-mm gun mount fitted with an M242 Bushmaster autocannon. This cannon has a rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute, and is controlled remotely from the bridge. Two 12.7-mm machine guns are also carried. The ship is supported by two 7.2-m, waterjet propelled rigid-hulled inflatable boats, which carry ten people.

The patrol boats are fitted with a Bridgemaster E surface search and navigational radar, a Toplite electro-optical detection system, and a Warrlock direction finding system. A Prism III radar warning system was fitted to the last two boats during construction, and refitted to the rest. Each patrol boat has a standard ship’s company of 21 personnel, with a maximum of 29.

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