HMAS Manoora was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in November 1994, and was modified as a helicopter-capable amphibious transport ship. Manoora’s primary role is to transport, lodge ashore and support an Army contingent of up to 450 troops, their vehicles and equipment. It is fitted with a helicopter hangar capable of supporting up to four Army Black Hawk or three Navy Sea King helicopters.
HMAS Manoora to pre-deploy to Solomon Islands, Minister Robert Hill, Media release 94/2003, Friday, 18 July 2003
“HMAS Manoora will depart Townsville on Monday [21 July 2003] in preparation for the deployment of regional police and military assistance to restore law and order in the Solomon Islands, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today. The Manoora is being deployed to ensure it can be in place for the arrival by air of police and military elements that the Government may decide to send to the Solomons. Australian and Pacific Island country contingents, including both police and military elements, are starting to prepare and train in Townsville for deployment once the formal approval is given.”
The Royal Australian Navy and the Restoration of Stability in the Solomon Islands, Semaphore (Newsletter of the Sea Power Centre Australia), Issue 13, August 2005
“On the morning of 24 July 2003, the citizens of Honiara awoke to find a massive grey warship anchored close off shore; HMAS Manoora , a highly versatile amphibious transport had arrived to help restore law and order to the Solomon Islands. Unlike previous deployments to the region, Manoora‘s presence was an unmistakable show of military strength, indicating to all observers that change for the Islands was imminent. Manoora‘s appearance off Guadalcanal beach marked the beginning of Operation HELPEM FREN, the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). Australian Defence Force (ADF) participation in HELPEM FREN came under the banner of Operation ANODE, and continued a long tradition of positive involvement by Australian and Australian-based naval vessels in the development of the Solomon Islands.”
Positive energy – Op Anode’s current flows through Solomon Islands restoring order, Capt Sarah Hawke, Army – the soldiers’ newspaper, 14 August 2003
“The Air Force and Navy are also playing a role in moving equipment and personnel and is providing general maritime support to the operation. Four ships led by HMAS Manoora are in Solomon Islands. …HMAS Manoora was heavily involved in the establishment of the first police post by RAMSI at Avu Avu. The only way into the remote Weathercoast was by taking the police and military personnel and equipment by ship from Honiara and then from the ship by Seaking helicopter.”
Manoora in vital supply role, Lt. Chris Woods, Navy News, 2003
“LPA 52’s logistic support role in the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands has been vital for the successful sustaining of many of the Police posts that have been opened around the Solomons archipelago. These re-supply activities occur about every two weeks and involve the whole ship…. Many of the police posts such as Kolina are inaccessible other than by air and Manoora’s two Sea Kings have been tireless and reliable workhorses. The LPA has also been directing the activities of the Minor War Vessels (MWV) attached to RAMSI.”
Manoora welcomed home , Minister assisting the Minister for Defence Mal Brough, 6 November 2003
“More than 260 men and women sailed into Sydney Harbour today [6 November 2003] onboard Royal Australian Navy amphibious ship, HMAS Manoora, after being away for six months, of which over three months were spent on operational duty in the Solomon Islands. After offloading equipment from the Middle East in Townsville, Manoora was diverted at short notice to the Solomon Islands in July , prior to returning to her home port in Sydney, to support the police led operation.
“Mr. Brough stated: ‘Manoora has provided vital transport, logistic and medical support as part of the ship’s contribution to the police led operation to restore law and order in the Solomon Islands.’ “
Commentary and analysis
Counterinsurgency in a Test Tube: Analyzing the Success of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), Russell W. Glenn, RAND National Defence Research Institute, Monograph MG-551, 2007
“Reflecting the lesson learned regarding the effect that the USS Belleau Wood had off East Timor, the HMAS Manoora appeared off the Guadalcanal coast on the morning of 24 July 2003, its arrival timed deliberately to co-incide with that of the first Australia Air Force c_130 Hercules aircraft landings at Henderson Field, Honiara’s airport.”
“[Militia leader Harold] Keke was persuaded to go offshore to the Australian navy’s Manoora, where he was placed under arrest without resistance: The ship had consistently been a centerpiece in demonstrating RAMSI’s potential might, and separating Keke from his support eased execution of the formal arrest. John Frewen believed that “the commitment of the Manoora was one of the most important decisions in the operation. We never could have arrested Harold Keke without it.” The importance of the navy to RAMSI’s general success was further evident in the desire of both Nick Warner and Ben McDevitt to keep the ship in theater. Such was not to be, however. The Manoora’s departure was the first step in downsizing the military force, a choice influenced by the fact that its crew had been returning from Iraq when rerouted to support the Solomons operation for an additional 90 days of deployment.”