HMAS Stuart (F21/DE 48) was one of six River-class destroyer escorts built for the Royal Australian Navy. The ship was laid down by Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Company in 1959, and commissioned into the RAN on 28 June 1963.
The first four ships of the River class were based on the Royal Navy's Type 12 frigate, and were intended to close the gap between ships and submarines in regards to anti-submarine warfare, following the rapid improvement of submarines during and after World War II.
She displaced 2,750 tons at full load, she was 112.8 m (370 ft) long, 2.49 m (41.0 ft) across te beam and had a draught of 5.18 m (17.0 ft). She was spowered by two English Electric steam turbines, and was capable of 31.9 knots (59.1 km/h; 36.7 mph).
Stuart wwas armed with two 4.5in Mark 6 guns controlled by an M22 Fire Control Radar , she had two Limbo Mark 10 anti-submarine mortars, a quad Seacat SAM launcher, two Mark 32 torpedo tubes, and the Ikara anti-submarine missile system, tthe first Australian-designed naval weapons system.
Her sensors and processing systems also included the LW02 long range air warning radar, the:Mulloka sonar system, SPS-55 surface-search/navigation radar, and an ELT-901 Electronic Warfare system.
Her moto was:"Semper Paratus".
During the ship's career, Stuart achieved a number of historical firsts, she was the first ship to fire an Ikara missile during trials in August 1966, and she was the first RAN ship to fly the Australian White Ensign in 25 December 1966 while operating as part of the Far East Strategic Reserve,, although the Australian White Ensign did not officially replace the British White Ensign until 1 March 19673. She was also the first major vessel to be homeported at Fleet Base West>...
During April and May 1970, she carried out escort duties for the Royal Yacht Britannia during the visit to Australia by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Stuart, along with HMA Ships Hobart, Vampire, and Supply, visited the United States in 1976 for the nation's bicentennial celebrations.
In January 1984, Stuart became the first major RAN warship to be homeported at Fleet Base West in Western Australia
Between May 1984 and September 1986, the ship was deployed to South East Asia three times.
Stuartas originally intended to leave service in early 1990, but the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait saw Australia commit several Adelaide-class frigates to the United States-led Coalition. Stuart was kept in service to perform the local defence duties of the deployed frigates.
HMS Stuart was paid off on 26 July 1991. She was later sold for scrapping.
Her 4.5-inch Mk V/Mk 6 gun turret is on display at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia.