The Royal Australian Navy’s second Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD), the future HMAS Brisbane (DDG 41) has entered the first phase of sea trials (builder’s sea trials) which will take place over the coming weeks.
This first phase of sea trials will test the ship’s propulsion, manoeuvring, control and navigation systems and will be followed by a more advanced phase of sea trials next year to test Brisbane’s combat and communications systems.
Mid-next year, Brisbane will be delivered to the Navy to join her sister ship, HMAS Hobart (DDG 39), and will be followed in quick succession by the delivery of the third and final Air Warfare Destroyer, the future HMAS Sydney (DDG 42), in 2019.
The Hobart-class is being built by the AWD Alliance, composed of the Australian Department of Defense, Raytheon Australia, and ASC with Navantia in a supporting role, at ASC’s shipyard in Osborne, South Australia.
The destroyers are being built under Australia’s SEA 4000 program, which will ultimately deliver three advanced multi-mission ships by the end of 2019. These ships will replace the Adelaide-class frigates and restore the capability last exhibited by the Perth-class destroyers.
The total cost of the program will be over $8 billion, making it the most expensive weapons program ever for Australia.
The ships are based on Álvaro de Bazán class frigate deployed by the Spanish Navy. It is equipped with the Aegis Combat System, which integrates with the long-range AN/SPY1 passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar to detect, track, and engage aerial targets. The new destroyer is the first in the RAN to carry the Aegis system.
They have the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) capable of firing RIM-66 Standard 2 surface-to-air missiles (SAM) or quad-packed RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM) and torpedoes for anti-submarine operations. The missiles are supplemented by 2 x 4 Harpoon anti-ship missiles in canister launchers and a BAE Mark 45 (Mod 4) 5-inch 62-calibre gun with a range of 23.6 km (14.7 mi).
Two Babcock Mark 32 Mod 9 two-tube torpedo launchers are used to launch Eurotorp MU90 torpedoes for Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions. For close-in defense, the ships will carry one aft-facing Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS) and two M242 Bushmasters in bridge wing Typhoon mounts.
The destroyers will carry a single MH-60R Romeo Seahawk helicopter. Two rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB) are also carried.
The standard ship’s company is 186-strong, plus 16 additional personnel to operate and maintain the ship’s helicopter, with maximum accommodation for 234.