Strait move from Sutherland in Australia

HMS Sutherland carves through the Bass Strait separating mainland Australia from Tasmania as she makes her way to the Commonwealth country’s greatest city on the latest leg of her tour of Oz.

Strait move from Sutherland in AustraliaThe Plymouth-based frigate is two months into a Pacific Rim deployment, and the closing stages of her whistle-stop tour of Australia having so far called in at Fremantle, Adelaide and Melbourne.

The Antipodean element of the Fighting Clan’s deployment is centred on encouraging the Royal Australian Navy to buy British – or at least British designs – as it prepares to invest massively in its frigate force; UK hopes revolve around the Type 26 and 31 which will replace Sutherland and her 12 sisters over the next 18 years.

The Melbourne visit coincided with St David’s Day… and, despite her strong ties with Scotland, the frigate celebrated Wales’ national day assisted by a vibrant ex-pat community and some Welsh tenors.

As well as the soft sell, the rare foray into Australian waters – Sutherland is the first RN visitor since HMS Daring in 2013 – has permitted some rare combined training for the two navies, who operate side-by-side in the Gulf and Indian Ocean.

Sutherland’s passage from Melbourne to Sydney through the Bass Strait coincided with the RAN’s largest exercise of the year, Ocean Explorer.

In the strait, Sutherland joined up with the tanker Sirius, frigate Parramatta and the Australian flagship, helicopter/amphibious assault ship HMAS Canberra.

Sutherland is expected to arrive in Sydney tomorrow (Friday 8 March).

Images courtesy of Royal Australian Navy.