Julian Kerr | Sydney
Poland has officially expressed interest in acquiring two of the Royal Australian Navy’s three remaining Adelaide-class FFG-7 frigates, informed sources have confirmed.
The Adelaide class is based on the US Oliver Hazard Perry class, two of which are now in service with the Polish navy.
The sources said no decision had yet been taken, and the request would be subject to Australian and US export controls.
“A decision on the future of the three remaining FFGs is expected before the end of 2017.”
Two (Adelaide and Canberra) of the six modified Oliver Hazard Perry class vessels built for the RAN – four in the US and two in Australia - were retired in 2005 and 2008.
The remaining four underwent a lengthy and complex upgrade that was completed in 2009. This included deployment of medium range surface-to-air Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSMs) and SM-2 Block IIIA long range air defence missiles, together with associated sensor and combat system enhancements.
This transformed the class from a useful anti-submarine platform with some secondary air defence and anti-ship capabilities to a much-improved anti-air and anti-submarine asset with worthwhile surface warfare functionality.
HMAS Sydney was decommissioned in December 2015 to provide crew for training on the systems and capabilities of the RAN’s three Hobart class air warfare destroyers, the first of which is scheduled to be delivered in June.
A decision on the future of the three remaining FFGs is expected before the end of 2017.