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DDG Charles F Adams Class




In a break from tradition the Perth Class Guided Missile Destroyers (DDG) were not built or designed by the British but were the first major warships to be built for the Royal Australian Navy outside of Australia in the USA by the Defoe Shipbuilding Company in Bay City, MICHIGAN, USA.


HMAS PERTHThese formidable vessels were to transform the RAN into a truly missile age navy. As well as ushering in a new age via a breaking of some traditional ties with the Royal Navy. A whole new language had to be learnt. Likewise these ships had a completely different Damage Control Marking System as well as unique names for compartments and systems that were previously unheard of by RAN sailors. Even the domestic power supply wa a s different voltage! Many RAN sailors were also trained in the US during the DDGs time in commission.


Some purists may argue that the RAN's entry into the missile age had already been achieved by the use of the Sea Cat Missile Sytem fitted to the River Class Frigates. However the Sea Cat System relied upon a manual operator, using manual guidance inputs with visual line of sight to the missile itself as well as the target.


DDGs were also the only 'Flushed Decked' Destroyers in service in the RAN. i.e. 1 deck continuous from stem to stern.


The three DDG's were named HMAS Perth, HMAS Hobart and HMAS Brisbane numbered D38, D39 and D41 respectively.


All three DDGs saw Active Service in Vietnam, Perth and Hobart completing three deployments each and Brisbane two deployments. Perth and Hobart both participated in operation Sea Dragon and came under fire on many occasions. Due to America's involvement in the Vietnam War, logisitc support and operations for RAN DDGs was very uncomplicated due to their immediate compatibility with the USN.



All three DDGs underwent major refits and modifications in the USA from 1974 - 1979. This included the addition of NCDS (Naval Combat Data System) and Standard Missile Fit (SM1) to replace the obselete Tartar Missile System.


Brisbane also escorted aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne to England and Europe to participate in Her Majesty's Silver Jubliee Naval Review at Spithead.


In 1985, Brisbane was the first of the three DDGs to embark on the overall 212 Million Dollar programme to equip with Harpoon Missile capabilty and also update Gunnery, Radar and Computer Systems.


In late 1990, due to her participation in Operation Desert Storm Brisbane was fitted with Phalanx CIWS (anti missile systems). Also during 1991 the obselete Ikara anti submarine missile system was removed from all three DDGs.


Brisbane, the only DDG of the three still in service also has the honour of having served Australia in two conflicts, Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm.


Name No. Laid Down Launched Commissioned
Perth 38 21 SEP1962 26 SEP1963 17JUL1965 at Boston USA
Hobart 39 26OCT1962 9JAN1964 18DEC1965 at Boston USA
Brisbane 41 15FEB65 05MAY66 16DEC67 at Boston USA


The contract price for one DDG was US $45,000,000 which included spare parts, support, stores and ammunition.



HMA Ships Brisbane (foreground) and Hobart at play


Ship Statistics:

Type: Guided Missile Destroyer (Charles F Adams Class)

Displacement: 4900 tonnes

Length: 133.2 metres (437 feet)

Beam: 14.3 metres (43 feet)

Speed: More than 30 knots

Propulsion: 2 GE geared steam turbines, driving two shafts and producing 70000 shaft horsepower



2 x Mk42 Mod 10 5"/54 calibre single gun mounts

6 x Mk32 (2xTriple launchers) Mod 5 Torpedo tubes with Mk46 torpedoes

1 x Single Mk 13 Mod 5/6 missile launcher, with Harpoon & Standard (SM-1) missiles (Original Fit - Tartar Missile System)

2 x Ikara missile launchers - removed 1991



975 Navigation Radar

AN/SPS-67 (V)1 Surface Search Radar (originally AN/SPS-10)

AN/SPS-40C Long Range Air Warning Radar

AN/SPS-52C 3-D Air Warning Radar

AN/SPG-53F Gunnery Fire Control Radar

2 x AN/SPG-51C/D Missile Fire Control Radar sets

IFF Interrogator (2) and Transponder

AN/SQS-23K/L Hull Mounted Sonar


Builders: Defoe Shipbuilding Company, Bay City MICHIGAN USA


Crew: 333 (21 Officers - 312 Sailors)


HMAS PERTH's decommissioning took place on Friday 15th October 1999 at Fleet Base East, Sydney and will be sunk in Princess Royal Harbour, Albany WA on Saturday November 3rd this year as a dive site.



Video - HMAS PERTH Pays Off


HMAS Hobart decommissioned on the Friday 12th MAY 2000. She has been towed to South Australia where she will be stripped, cleaned and prepared for scuttling at Lat 35 deg 28.9 min. Long 138deg 9.5 min in 30m of water in Yankalilla Bay off the southern coast of the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide.


HMAS Brisbane decommissioned in October 2001.