RAN patrol boats

RAN patrol boats


Since 2003, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has deployed Fremantle and Armidale class patrol boats to Solomon Islands, to support Operation Helpem Fren. Fremantle-class patrol boats include HMA Ships Whyalla, Ipswitch, Cessnock, Geraldton and Townsville and the newer Armidale-class ships HMAS Armidale, Bathurst and Wollongong.

The RAN and AFP have also supplied small craft and patrol boats to the Solomon Islands Police Force (SIPF) to assist with patrolling in rural provinces.


Two patrol boats weigh in, Michael Brooke and LT Simone Heyer, Navy – the sailors’ paper, Volume 49, No. 7, May 4, 2006

The RAN patrol boats HMA Ships Armidale (LCDR Jason Hunter) and Townsville (LCDR I.M. Ingham) deployed to Honiara recently to support the Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands (RAMSI) following a wave of civil unrest. The Armidale and Fremantle Class patrol boats have been sent to the Solomons to support around 500 military personnel and about 350 police. Townsville docked in Honiara on April 21 and Armidale arrived on April 27. It marks the first overseas operation for Armidale, which has been through a busy period since commissioning last year.”

ADF support continues in Solomon Islands, Minister for Defence Brendan Nelson, Media release 51/2006, 26 April 2006

[Following the April 2006 riots] “Navy Fremantle Class Patrol Boat, HMAS Townsville is conducting patrols in support of the police effort. HMAS Armidale, a new Armidale Class Patrol Boat, is due to arrive in Honiara tomorrow to provide additional support.”


HMAS Bathurst Returns From Solomon Island Service, Defence Media Release CPA 113/06, 9 June 2006

“HMAS Bathurst, a Darwin based Armidale Class Patrol Boat from the Royal Australian Navy, has returned home from a tour of duty in the Solomon Islands in support of Operation Anode. Led by LCDR Andrew Quinn, RAN, the crew of Bathurst departed Darwin six weeks ago to assist in the region, conducting patrols of the area supporting the continuing Police effort in improving law and order in the Solomon Islands. HMA Ships Armidale and Townsville have also been deployed since the Honiara riots in April.”



“You would have seen yesterday the arrival of the HMAS Whyalla. That is a Fremantle class patrol boat which greatly enhances our ability to support  police. She is particularly good at maritime surveillance and maritime intervention operations.

Positive energy – Op Anode’s current flows through Solomon Islands restoring order, Capt Sarah Hawke, Army – the soldiers’ newspaper, 14 August 2003

The Fremantle class Patrol Boat, HMAS Whyalla, is currently conducting police led operations and spent its first week in waters around Shortland Island near Bougainville.”

Manoora in vital supply role, Lt Chris Woods, Navy News, 2003

HMAS Whyalla has handed-off to Ipswich while Hawkesbury has just been replaced by Diamantina. HMAS Hawkesbury has concentrated on the northern areas around the Shortland Islands group, while Whyalla and Ipswich visited many islands in the New Georgia region, Santa Isabel, San Cristobal and Choiseul areas.”

HMA Ships History – HMAS Cessnock II

Cessnock’s crew welcomed the opportunity for a change of focus when they sailed from Darwin on 1 December 2003 on deployment to the Solomon Islands for Operation ANODE. Five months earlier the Australian Government had deployed a naval task group and ground forces to help restore law and order in the troubled nation. Arriving on station on 15 December, Cessnock lent support to the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and patrolled the nation’s territorial waters. On 28 December Cessnock rescued the 13-man crew of a Taiwanese longliner that had run aground north of Santa Isabel Island. Cessnock was relieved on station by her sister ship HMAS Geraldton and departed the Operation ANODE Area of Operations on 17 January 2004.”


See also:

Naval Task Group 635.5