Defence confirms former RAN frigates handed over to Chile

Defence has confirmed that the last two Adelaide-class frigates of the Royal Australian Navy to be decommissioned have been handed over to the Chilean Navy.

Responding to queries from APDR, a Defence spokesperson said, “Two former Royal Australian Navy Adelaide class frigates, ex HMA Ships Melbourne and Newcastle, have been commissioned into service with the Chilean Navy. The ships, now known as Almirante Latorre and Capitán Prat, will remain in Sydney and NSW coastal regions until May 2020, while training is completed and preparations are made for them to sail to Chile.”

Defence did not provide further details, but APDR understands that a formal ceremony for the transfer was held at Fleet Base East (HMAS Kuttabul) in Sydney on the 15th of April, with photos published on social media of the two frigates with Chilean flags and new pennant numbers with Sydney’s prominent skyline in the background.

The former HMAS Newcastle was decommissioned in June 2019, with the HMAS Melbourne following in October that same year.

Both ships are Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates and had previously been upgraded under Project SEA 1390, the most prominent improvement being equipping them with the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) cells and the ability to fire the Enhanced Sea Sparrow surface to air missile.

It was announced late last year that Chile had acquired the two frigates from Australia, to replace its Latorre-class (former Dutch navy Jacob van Heemskerck-class) air warfare frigates Chile acquired in 2004 and decommissioned from the Chilean Navy in November 2019.

Defence declined further comment and referred further enquiries to the Chilean government.

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