The Royal Australian Navy (RAN)’s second Hobart-class guided-missile destroyer, HMAS Brisbane (DDG 41), has commenced her combat systems trials in the United States.
Using remote sensor data from the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Stockdale and the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), the combat system was tested against a range of challenging targets and tactical situations. CEC provides a secure communications capability between Australian and US equipped ships, aircraft or land forces and allows a unit to detect and, if needed, engage a threat identified by another ship or aircraft.
Australian Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds said the trials which were held in the US over the past month, mark a ground-breaking milestone for Australia.
“This missile-firing demonstrates the very highest levels of interoperability between our navies,” Minister Reynolds said. “It reaffirms the game-changing technology that the Aegis combat system brings to our Navy and the advanced capability of the Australian-built Hobart Class Destroyers. By conducting these trials in the US, our Navy is able to access the world’s best expertise, instrumented ranges and analysis capabilities to provide confidence in how the ship will perform in combat.”
The trials mark the next step in the Hobart Class Destroyer’s introduction into service.
The keel of Brisbane was laid down on 3 February 2014 and was launched by Mrs Robyn Shackleton on 15 December 2016. HMAS Brisbane was commissioned on 27 October 2018.
The Hobart Class destroyers are being built and integrated by the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance, under Australia’s SEA 4000 program to replace Royal Australian Navy’s Adelaide-class frigates and restore the capability last exhibited by the Perth-class destroyers.
AWD Alliance is comprised of the Department of Defence, Raytheon Australia and ASC Shipbuilding with support from Navantia Australia, at ASC’s shipyard in Osborne, South Australia.
The first ship of the class, HMAS Hobart (DDG 39) was commissioned into the Navy fleet on Sept. 23 last year. The third and final vessel, the future HMAS Sydney (DDG 42), began sea trials in September this year and is scheduled to be commissioned in May 2020.
The ships are based on Álvaro de Bazán-class frigates operated by the Spanish Navy. It is equipped with the Aegis Combat System (ACS), which integrates with the long-range AN/SPY-1 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 Launching System (Mk 41 VLS) capable of firing RIM-66 Standard 2 (SM-2) surface-to-air missiles (SAM) or quad-packed RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) for air defense role. The missiles are supplemented by two quad-packed Harpoon anti-ship missiles (AShM) in canister launchers and a BAE Mark 45 (Mod 4) 5-inch 62-calibre main gun, having an operational 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 carry one aft-facing Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS) and two M242 Bushmasters in bridge wing Typhoon mounts.
The destroyers embark 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.