It will be a not-so-subtle display of naval military might, and the most diverse armada of international warships ever to sail into Sydney Harbour.
Bristling with weaponry, some 21 nations will be represented in the October Fleet Review, including China by a Luhu Class destroyer, Qingdao.
Russia will send the RFS Vareyag cruiser capable of carrying long-range surface-to-air missiles and anti-submarine torpedoes. At 186 metres it will be the largest ship on the harbour.
Britain will send HMS Daring, a guided-missile destroyer and America will deploy the USS Chosin, a guided-missile cruiser.
All will assemble at Garden Island and across the Harbour marking the centenary of the first entry of the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet into Sydney on October 4, 1913.
On that occasion tens of thousands of people lined the foreshore to greet the flagship, the first HMAS Australia, as Australia came of age with its own defence capability.
Captain Nick Bramwell, director of the International Fleet Review, said it was a big undertaking for most countries to send ships to Australia.
”The Chinese now tend to visit Australia every 12 to 18 months, whereas the more unusual ones would be Russia and Nigeria. This is the first time the Russian Navy has been to Sydney since 1903, and this is the first time the Nigerians have been to Australia,” he said. ”It’s a great amphitheatre for this event.”
The foreign navies are not required to reveal what kind of weapons they have.
”Just because a ship can carry a certain number of missiles or shells for its guns doesn’t necessarily mean they are carrying them at full capacity,” Captain Bramwell said.
”There are standard procedures in not having explosives on upper decks in confined waterways, and they are pretty much internationally recognised.” Planning for the final berthing arrangements will continue right up until the review, expected to generate revenue of more than $50 million.
The celebrations will also include tall ships from eight countries, along with a home fleet of vessels including the James Craig and HM Bark Endeavour.
Navies from India, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Spain will also send ships.
Sydney is a nuclear-free harbour, so none of the vessels will have nuclear weapons or be propelled by nuclear power plants