Royal Australian Navy Launches its Newest Hobart Class Destroyer, Future HMAS Sydney

The Royal Australian Navy has launched its third and final Hobart-class air warfare destroyer (AWD), the future HMAS Sydney (DDG 42) during a ceremony at Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide, South Australia, on May 19, 2018.

The NUSHIP Sydney carries a proud name and is a significant warfighting enhancement to Australia’s fleet. Sydney has now joined the second AWD, future HMAS Brisbane (DDG 41), alongside the wharf at the shipyard.

AWD Program Manager Commodore (CDRE) Craig Bourke congratulated the workforce on achieving this significant milestone. “Over the past ten years, we have seen more than 5,000 people and 1,500 suppliers contribute millions of hours of effort to the AWD program – the most complex defence project ever undertaken in Australia.”

Air Warfare Destroyers like NUSHIP Sydney use a combination of global and Australian technology, to provide defence to a Task Group from air, surface and submarine threats. They are the first Australian ships equipped with the US Aegis weapon system, which significantly enhances Navy warfighting capability and allows them to work more closely with our allies than ever before.

The Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett said the launching of NUSHIP Sydney is a significant milestone for industry and Defence.

“As Sydney floats clear of her synchrolift, she will continue her journey towards decades of service to the nation,” Vice Admiral Barrett told the launch ceremony.

“In the last three years we have seen the launch of the first two Air Warfare Destroyers – HMAS Hobart and NUSHIP Brisbane – and with the launch today of Sydney, the class is now complete. They are powerful, elegant new warships that will serve Australia as a key part of our fleet for decades to come – a fleet that will be strong, agile, intelligent, and lethal.”

NUSHIP Sydney will continue fitting out prior to the commencement of sea trials next year.

The first ship of the class, HMAS Hobart (DDG 39) was commissioned into the Navy fleet on Sept. 23 last year. The second ship of the class, the future HMAS Brisbane (DDG 41) will be delivered to the Navy mid this year, and will be followed in quick succession by the delivery of the future HMAS Sydney (DDG 42), in 2019.

Hobart-class AWD

The Hobart-class destroyers are being built under Australia’s SEA 4000 program, which 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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