HMAS Toowoomba returns to service after AMCAP upgrade

The Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac-class frigate HMAS Toowoomba returned to the water at Henderson, Western Australia, after an 18-month maintenance period.

HMAS Toowoomba, nicknamed the Purple Pony, is the fifth of the navy’s eight Anzac-class frigates to exit the dry production phase of the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP).

The lead ship of the class, HMAS Anzac, returned to the water after AMCAP upgrade in 2020.

This program involves significant out-of-water maintenance and upgrades to the overall capability of the Anzac class. 

Commanding Officer HMAS Toowoomba Commander Darin MacDonald said achieving a ship’s undocking relied on the knowledge of Commonwealth and Defence industries, with many partners having undertaken weeks of assurance activities to certify the safety of the ship.

“The AMCAP program is an ongoing collaboration between Defence and industry partners.  Toowoomba has been the beneficiary of a rolling cycle of enhancements from previous ships,” Commander MacDonald noted.

“Undocking also marks a transition of responsibility for the ship back to Navy, with the ship’s company pleased to resume ownership of the Purple Pony.”

HMAS Toowoomba will be the fifth of eight Anzac Class vessels to receive the AMCAP upgrade, which includes Upgraded ventilation systems, New sewage systems, Improvements to the diesel engines to improve power and efficiency, Replacement of the air search radar capability with the Australian CEA L-Band radar and Replacement of the full communications suite on the ship.

The upgrade showcases Australian design and integration capability, with new phased array radar technology designed by CEA Technologies in Canberra, upgrades to combat systems performed by Saab Systems in South Australia, and platform integration design by BAE Systems in Victoria.

The focus for the crew and supporting industry now turns from deep-cycle maintenance on frigate’s systems, to returning them to an operational state.

This will involve a number of trials, both alongside and at sea, before the ship is scheduled to return to an operational cycle at the end of this year.

The upgrade program is being undertaken by the Navy and the Warship Asset Management Agreement which is a four-way alliance between the Commonwealth’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, Saab Australia, BAE Systems and Naval Ship Management Australia.

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