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History Of The ex-HMAS Adelaide

History Of The ex-HMAS Adelaide

Design work for the PERRY - class started in the early 1970s. These ships were originally conceived as a low-cost convoy escort (hence the original "PF" (Patrol Frigate) hull number for the prototype). In mid-1975, the PERRY -class ship were re-classified as FFGs (guided Missile Frigates). The ships were completely developed by the US Navy and later awarded for construction to the two lowest bidding shipyards - Bath Iron Works and Todd. Construction went on in time and sometimes even ahead of schedule.

The first PERRY - class ships were commissioned without the SQS-56 Sonar because production of the system started too late so that it was not yet available during the construction of the ships. Originally to be 75 in number, a total of 55 FFG 7 OLIVER HAZARD PERRY - class ships were built, including 51 for the US Navy and four for the Royal Australian Navy. Australia subsequently built a further ship of this design at a very high cost.
Spain also built to this design and a modified design was built in Taiwan (the Cheng Kung Class).

Early in their operational lives, ships of the FFG 7 - class, the ex HMAS Adelaide included, began to develop serious cracking in the superstructure, which extended from side-to-side and for approximately 70% of the length. These cracks were serious in that they could extend down into the hull portion of the ship and provided a way for water to flood important weapons system spaces.

Detailed inspections were made, analyses undertaken, and model-scale tests conducted. Fixes compatible with the entire class were developed and installed. Tests were conducted at sea and were found to be satisfactory; further fixes were then carried out on all ships of the FFG 7 - class.

The PERRY - class ships were produced in two variants, known as "short-hull" and "long-hull", with the later variant being eight feet longer than the short-hull version. The long-hull ships [FFG 8, 28, 29, 32, 33, 36-61] carry the SH-60B LAMPS III helicopters, while the short-hull units carry the less-capable SH-2G.

The reason for the two variants was the late introduction of the SH-60B helicopters.

When the PERRYs were designed, LAMPS III was not yet tested and one did not know how the new helicopter would approach the ship for landing. Therefore, the first 26 ship in the PERRY - class were completed in SH-2G configuration. When it became obvious that the SH-60B would not approach the ship sideward like the SH-2G but directly from astern, the remaining ships of the class were completed with an 8-feet long hull extension astern of the flight deck.

In late 1980, the first sea trials of an SH-60B aboard a PERRY - class guided missile frigate took place aboard the previously modified USS McINERNEY (FFG 8).

In 1978, a 1:1 SH-60B scale model was used for testing aboard USS OLIVER HAZARD PERRY (FFG 7). Although the ships were intended to operate the LAMPS III ASW helicopter, FFG 7-35, as completed, lacked the equipment necessary to handle them. Beginning with the FY79 ships (FFG 36 and later), helicopter support equipment was aboard on completion: fin stabilizers, RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure, and Traverse system-not fitted as completed until FFG 50), and other systems.

The RAST system installed aboard the ex HMAS Adelaide permitted helicopter launch and recovery with the ship rolling through 28 degrees and pitching 5 degrees. The equipment was first installed in MCINERNEY (FFG 8), which was reconstructed, in 1981 at Bath Iron Works, to act as LAMPS III/SH-60B Seahawk helicopter trials ship.