HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156) is the seventh Anzac
class frigate of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was laid down
in 2002 by Tenix Defence Systems and commissioned in 2005.
In 2007, Toowoomba was deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of
Operation Slipper. Her second deployment to the Middle East occurred
during the second half of 2009. As part of this, she became the
first RAN vessel to operate with the counter-piracy Combined Task
Toowoomba hit a navigation marker off Gladstone in March 2006 and
was repaired at Williamstown, Victoria.
oowoomba began her first deployment to the Middle East Area of
Operations (MEAO) as part of Operation Slipper on 4 January 2007.
On 18 June 2008, the frigate became the first RAN warship to fire an
MU90 Impact anti-submarine torpedo, after they replaced the American
Mark 46 anti-submarine torpedoes originally fitted.
In June 2009, Toowoomba sailed from Fleet Base West, Western
Australia to embark upon the ship's second MEAO deployment. In
September, the frigate was assigned to Combined Task Force 151
(CTF-151); Toowoomba was the first Australian warship to work with
CTF-151, a US-led, multinational force tasked with protecting
merchant vessels from pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia.
Toowoomba was assigned to escort merchant shipping and conduct overt
patrols in the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), a
shipping lane extending the Gulf of Aden towards the Somali Basin
and the Horn of Africa, in support of United Nations Security
Council Resolutions 1846 and 1851. The frigate was also the first to
operate with the counter-terrorism Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150)
in the Arabian Sea.
On 20 September 2009, Toowoomba responded to a call for assistance
from the merchant vessel BBC Portugal, and successfully prevented an
act of high-seas piracy. A Japanese P-3 Orion aircraft and a naval
helicopter from the German frigate Bremen provided surveillance
support while Toowoomba closed in. A boarding party from Toowoomba
confiscated several weapons from the attackers, including a
rocket-propelled grenade launcher, six AK-47 assault rifles, and a
G3 assault rifle, before the skiff was directed to leave the IRTC.
Toowoomba returned to Fleet Base West on 7 December 2009, having
been relieved in the MEAO by HMAS Stuart. The ship and her company
were awarded with a "Certificate for Exceptional Services Rendered
to Shipping and Mankind" by the International Maritime Organization
in November 2009. The deployment is the subject of Australian Pirate
Patrol, a four-episode documentary series produced by Prospero
Productions, and first aired on the National Geographic Channel on
18 October 2010.
In early April 2013, Toowoomba operated with the U.S. Navy's Carrier
Strike Group Three in the South China Sea.
In late March 2014, Toowoomba was pulled from asylum seeker patrols
and directed to join the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines
flight MH370, allowing HMAS Success to return to port for