In September, HMAS Sydney, one of Australia's newly modernized Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigates, along with HMAS Ballarat, an Anzac (Meko 200 ANZ)-class frigate, will officially conclude Operation Northern Trident 2009. The extended Australian Navy exercise began in April and involved an around-the-world tour including a successful anti-piracy patrol off Yemen and Somalia. The patrol was followed by training, exercises, and port calls with allied navies in Europe, North America, and Asia. During July the two warships visited New York, Baltimore, and Norfolk, Virginia, where HMAS Sydney, pictured here, was able to show off her impressive modernized weapon capabilities. This new armament fit includes the addition of an 8-tube vertical launch missile system carrying 32 ESSM missiles. The Sydney also retains the capability to carry two helicopters and launch Harpoon antiship missiles and Standard SM-1 (soon to be upgraded to SM-2) surface-to-air missiles from her MK 13 missile launcher; a capability that has been deleted from U.S. Navy variants of the class.
By Eric Wertheim