Australia’s Third and Final Air Warfare Destroyer, HMAS Sydney, Commences First Phase of Sea Trials

The Royal Australian Navy’s third and final Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD), the future HMAS Sydney (DDG 42), has commenced its first phase of sea trials which will test the ship’s hull, propulsion and navigation systems.

The initial trial phase will be followed by a more advanced phase of sea trials in October to test the ship’s combat and communications systems in preparation for delivery next year.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said industry played a fundamental role in the input into Defence capability.

“Over the past decade, more than 5,000 people from across the Department of Defence, ASC, Raytheon Australia and Navantia have dedicated millions of hours of work towards delivering the most capable warships ever to be operated by the Royal Australian Navy,” Minister Reynolds said.

“This is underpinned by over 2,700 suppliers who have supported the AWD Alliance in its efforts to expand Australian Industry Capability for the overall Program. Through the AWD program we have created a local workforce with specialist shipbuilding and complex systems integration skills that will form the foundation for future shipbuilding projects in Australia.”

The future HMAS Sydney, now called NUSHIP Sydney, is the third and final Hobart-class air warfare destroyer (AWD) being built for the Royal Australian Navy under the SEA 4000 program. NUSHIP Sydney was launched during a ceremony at Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide, South Australia, on May 19 last year.

Hobart-class AWD

The Hobart-class destroyers will replace the Adelaide-class frigates and restore the capability last exhibited by the Perth-class destroyers.

They are being built by the AWD Alliance, composed of the Australian Department of Defense, Raytheon Australia, and ASC (formerly the Australian Submarine Corporation) with Navantia in a supporting role, at ASC’s shipyard in Osborne, South Australia.

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 (ACS), 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.

The destroyers 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) for air defense role and torpedoes for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations.

The missiles are supplemented by 2 x 4 Harpoon anti-ship missiles (AShM) 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 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.

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