The third and final Project SEA 4000 Air Warfare Destroyer, HMAS Sydney V has been commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy during a ceremony at sea off the south coast of NSW on May 18.
The commissioning was attended by Chief of Navy VADM Mike Noonan and Fleet Commander RADM Jonathan Mead, and commissioning commanding officer CMDR Edward Seymour during a transit from Jervis Bay to Sydney. HMAS Sydney joins sister vessels HMA Ships Hobart and Brisbane which were commissioned in September 2017 and September 2018 respectively. The Hobart class vessel are considered to be the most advanced warships in RAN service, and some of the most capable surface assets in the Indo-Pacific region.
“It isn’t often in a naval career that you are part of commissioning a brand new warship, but to do so at sea and carrying the significant legacy behind the name Sydney, is a special feeling for the entire ship’s company,” CMDR Seymour said at the ceremony. “A lot of hard teamwork has led us to this moment of bringing a world-class warship into the fleet and we’re eager to now prove what Sydney can do.”
The fifth vessel to bear the name of Australia’s largest city, HMAS Sydney V has a long and important legacy of battle honours to live up to. The first ship to bear the name was a Town class light cruiser commissioned in June 1913, served with distinction in New Guinea and in the North Sea from 1914 to 1918, and decommissioned in May 1928. The second HMAS Sydney was a modified Leander/Perth class light cruiser commissioned in September 1935 and served with distinction in the Mediterranean theatre before she was lost in action with no survivors off the coast of Western Australia in November 1941.
HMAS Sydney III was a modified Majestic class aircraft carrier that was commissioned in December 1948 and conducted air operations off Korea from October 1951 to January 1952. She was later converted to a vehicle and fast troop transport and conducted numerous cargo ferries from Australia to Malaysia and Vietnam between 1964 and 1972, before being decommissioned in November 1973.
HMAS Sydney IV was a Perry/Adelaide class frigate which was commissioned in January 1983 and was decommissioned in November 2015. During her service she conducted numerous deployments to the Middle East from 1991 to 2013 and participated in the East Timor campaign in 1999-2000.
“You will all form part of the HMAS Sydney fabric,” VADM Noonan told the commissioning crew. “You are sailors and officers who will all continue the proud Sydney legacy. It is a great responsibility – one I know each and every one of you is capable of honouring and carrying forward into the future.”
ADBR was fortunate to spend some time with CMDR Seymour and the crew of HMAS Sydney, with AWD Alliance General Manager Paul Evans, with Director General Naval Construction Branch CDRE Steve Tiffen, and with Raytheon Australia Managing Director Michael Ward in 2019. These key people, the vessel itself, and the wider AWD program are the subjects of several ADBRTV interviews and a major feature article published at PACIFIC 2019.