An Update on HMAS Arunta in Operation MANITOU


2017-03-05 HMAS Arunta operates as part of the multi-national Combined Maritime Forces, predominately tasked to support Combined Task Force 150 for counter-terrorism and maritime security operations.

Arunta is deployed on Operation MANITOU, supporting international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region (MER).

Arunta is on her third deployment to the MER and is the 64th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel to the region since 1990.

Two stories on the Australian Ministry of Defence website have provided updates on its activities.

HMAS Arunta Narcotics Interdiction

Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Arunta has seized more than 800kg of hashish hidden in a consignment of coffee.

Under the authority of joint Canadian-Australian Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), HMAS Arunta seized the drugs in the Arabian Sea in the ship’s first successful intercept since starting counter terrorism operations in December 2016.

Commander Cameron Steil, Commanding Officer HMAS Arunta said his ship intercepted the vessel on 2 March 2017.

“There were numerous suspicious elements regarding this vessel and subsequently we conducted a thorough search,” CMDR Steil said.

The drugs have an estimated street value of approximately $36 million according to Australian Crime Commission figures.

“Narcotic smuggling is well known in this area with the smugglers always trying to find new ways to hide cargo but our boarding parties’ training, techniques and equipment are of the highest standard,” CMDR Steil said.

“Our combined efforts under CTF-150 improve the overall maritime security, stability and prosperity in the region by denying terrorist organisations their ability to move personnel, weapons or narcotics and obstructing their capacity to raise funds.”

Commander Joint Task Force 633, Major General John Frewen said the successful drug interception was the culmination of significant work the ship has undertaken as part of the Combined Maritime Forces.

“Arunta has already gained a reputation as being professional and meticulous in its pursuit of contraband items,” Major General Frewen said.

“The fishing vessel was intercepted in international waters under the direction of the Canadian-led CTF 150 headquarters which also includes Australian personnel deployed to Operation MANITOU.”

HMAS Arunta is on her third deployment to the Middle East Region, as part of Joint Task Force 633 and it is the 64th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel in the region since the first Gulf War in 1990.

Operation MANITOU is the ADF contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region (MER).

The primary goal of Operation MANITOU is to contribute to the US-led Combined Maritime Forces, which is a 31 nation partnership focused on defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional cooperation and promoting a safe maritime environment.

Note: Figure for value of haul has been calculated utilising the Australian Crime Commission Report 2014-2015.

HMAS Arunta conducts training with the United States Coast Guard

31 January 2017

HMAS Arunta visited Bahrain for her first port visit after commencing operations in the Middle East Region (MER).

The visit provided an opportunity for Arunta’s boarding parties to conduct training with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).

HMAS Arunta on patrol in the Middle East region. Credit: Australian Ministry of Defence

Working from the purpose-built and life-like training facilities, the NCIS and USCG teams gave in-depth briefings and hands-on training using specialised search equipment.

Leading Seaman Marine Technician Christopher McDougal felt the training provided a realistic experience.

“The training was extremely helpful, especially being able to conduct deeper level searches on an actual Fishing Dhow,” said LSMT McDougal.

The enthusiasm from both the USCG and Arunta’s boarding parties lead to a very effective training environment.

“We love having the Australian Navy here, the sailors were so engaging, asking questions and getting involved,” said Chief Petty Officer Chris Ramirez, USCG.

Lieutenant Jahan Barr, one of the Boarding Party Officers found the training really useful, as they begin patrolling in the Middle East.

“The training and experience gained from operating with the Coast Guard gives us increased confidence to successfully carry out our duties professionally and more importantly, safely,” LEUT Barr said.

HMAS Arunta deployed from Garden Island, Rockingham, Western Australia, and is the 64th Royal Australian Navy ship to be deployed to the region since 1990. Arunta operates as part of the multi-national Combined Maritime Forces, supporting international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the MER.

See also the following:

The slideshow above shows HMAS Arunta’s S70-B Helicopter (Skeletor) firing decoy flares for exercise while on patrol in the Middle East region. And the photos are credited to the Australian Ministry of Defence. 

HMAS Arunta is the second of the Royal Australian Navy’s eight Anzac class frigates. The Arunta is based on the German Meko 200 frigate, designed and built by Tenix Defence Systems at Williamstown, Victoria.

Arunta is a long-range frigate capable of air defence, surface and undersea warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction. Arunta’s combat capabilities have been significantly improved under under the Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade program, a world class program that provides an enhanced sensor and weapons systems capability.

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.

Arunta is fitted with an advanced package of air and surface surveillance radars; omni-directional hull mounted sonar and electronic support systems that interface with the state-of-the-art 9LV453 Mk3E combat data system. The ship can counter simultaneous threats from aircraft, surface vessels and submarines.

The ship’s main armament comprises one five inch (127 mm) gun capable of firing 20 rounds per minute, ship launched Mk 46 torpedoes and a Mk 41 vertical launch system for the Evolved Sea Sparrow point defence missile. Warramunga also has eight anti-ship/land attach canister launched harpoon missiles and a vertical launch system for the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile. The ship’s other defence systems include the Nulka active missile decoy system, offboard chaff and a torpedo countermeasures system.

HMAS Arunta, like her sister frigates HMA Ships Anzac, Ballarat, Parramatta, Stuart, Toowoomba and Warramunga features a “combined diesel or gas” (CODOG) propulsion plant which enables the ship to sustain sprint speeds of greater than 27 knots and allows an operational range in excess of 6,000 nautical miles at 18 knots.

The ship can embark Navy’s latest multi-role Sikorsky S-70R Seahawk helicopter which has enhanced anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and Search and Rescue capabilities. Embarkation of a helicopter also provides the ship with the capability to deliver air-launched missiles and torpedoes.

Arunta has recently departed Australia on a nine month deployment to the Middle East Region for Operation MANITOU.  This will be the 64th Royal Australian Navy ship deployed to the Middle East since 1990 and will be the first in an extended rotation which will see greater time on task for Australian ships.

Arunta is the second ship of the name. The original Arunta (I), commissioned in 1942, became one of the best known RAN ships in World War II . She served with distinction in New Guinea and the Pacific between 1942-1944, the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944 and Lingayen Gulf in 1945.

The name “Arunta” comes from the Arrernte Aboriginal people (also spelt “Arunda” or “Aranda”) located in central Australia.