HMAS Armidale was the lead ship of the 14 Armidale Class Patrol Boats (ACPB) serving in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The Armidale class vessels have continued the legacy of service established by the RAN’s former Attack and Fremantle Class Patrol boats. HMAS Armidale II was constructed by Austal Ships at Henderson, Western Australia, with a length of 56.8 meters (186 ft), a beam of 9.7 meters (32 ft), a draught of 2.7 meters (8 ft 10 in), and a standard displacement of 270 tons. She was commissioned into the RAN at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin on June 24, 2005.
Armidale’s primary role was the execution of constabulary and surveillance operations in Australia’s northern waters. Initially assigned to Operation Cranberry in 2005, the Australian Defence Force’s operation to coordinate intelligence and provide surveillance information to civil authorities, she also provided effective service in support of Operation Relex II, protecting Australia’s borders and offshore maritime interests.
Throughout her commission, HMAS Armidale conducted innumerable intercept, control, and transport operations involving both Foreign Fishing Vessels (FFVs) and Suspected Irregular Entry Vessels (SIEVs). On several occasions, members of Armidale’s ship’s company risked their own safety to rescue people at sea whose vessels had sunk or were in distress. A notable example occurred in April 2006 when the crew of Armidale rescued a group of Australian and US citizens stranded by bad weather on the remote Tongan island of Kao.
She was decommissioned on March 30, 2023, after more than 17 years of proud service to the nation.