A crowd of nearly 6,000 people is gathering at Techport Australia in Adelaide on May 23 to celebrate a major milestone – the launch of the first destroyer built as part of the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program. The AWD workforce and their families were joined by dignitaries and industry leaders for the launch ceremony, which saw the first destroyer Hobart, lowered into the water until it floats for the first time.
AWD Alliance CEO Rod Equid said today’s event is the culmination of the efforts of thousands of Australians and other members of the AWD enterprise, reaching back more than 10 years. The launch ceremony celebrated the transition of the ship from the hardstand to the water. «As shipbuilders and systems integrators, we are undertaking one of the most complex projects of its type in Australia’s history», Mr. Equid said. «Our teams take enormous pride in the work we are doing, which is why this launch is such a big day and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a tear in the eyes of many of our workers when HMAS Hobart floats for the first time. It is hard to believe that the AWD Shipyard was opened just five years ago following considerable investment by State and Federal Government and ASC. Australia now has a highly skilled and professional naval shipbuilding capability».
Hobart’s launch is a big step forward in the delivery of three next-generation warships to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Over the coming months, progress will be accelerated as the second destroyer, Brisbane, takes the place of Hobart on the hardstand to undergo final block consolidation, and the keel for the third destroyer, Sydney, is laid. The AWD Alliance is responsible for delivering three Hobart Class DDG destroyers and their support systems to the Navy. The Alliance is made up of shipbuilder ASC, mission systems integrator Raytheon Australia and the Government’s Defence Materiel Organisation.
AWD Program Manager Peter Croser said: «Hobart has a strong and important lineage with many who have served in the previous Hobart who take a keen interest in their name-sake ship which now sits in the waters south of Adelaide. They have watched the progress of this ship and some of them will be represented today at the launch. Many members of the RAN future crew are already here working at Osborne contributing expertise for the launch and the next phase of the program. We look forward to setting to work Hobart and proving her capabilities at sea in the coming two-year period, whilst maintaining a focus on the construction of the next two DDGs».
ASC Shipbuilding CEO Mark Lamarre said the launch of the first destroyer is a momentous occasion when masses of steel, pipe, wire and machinery come to life. It is an emotional and solemn moment for those who build ships and for those that take them to sea. «The highly skilled workforce at ASC have consolidated and outfitted a ship, they are learning and improving every day contributing to the nation’s shipbuilding capability», Mr. Lamarre said. «The construction of Hobart and the other ships under construction at our shipyard represent the dedication and determination of all who are involved in this important national program. It is a project of which the whole of Australia should be incredibly proud».
Raytheon Australia Managing Director Michael Ward congratulated the AWD Alliance on the launch of Hobart. «As the AWD mission systems integrator it is a source of pride for Raytheon that we have applied our unique engineering and project management skills to delivering a project that is integrated in Australia», Mr. Ward said. «The AWD’s combat system integration activities represent some of the most advanced engineering accomplishments yet undertaken in such a project in this country and will contribute to making the AWD the most sophisticated warship ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy».
The Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers (AWDs) will be capable across the full spectrum of joint maritime operations, from area air defence and escort duties, right through to peacetime national tasking and diplomatic missions. The AWD project will provide the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with one of the world’s most capable multi-mission warships.
The AWDs, equipped with the SM-2 missile, will provide air defence for accompanying ships in addition to land forces and infrastructure in coastal areas, and for self-protection against missiles and aircraft. They will also be equipped with the SM-6 long-range anti-aircraft missile, the most advanced weapon of its type, with a range of more than 370 kilometers/230 miles/200 NM.
The missiles combined with the Aegis Weapon System, incorporating the state-of-the-art phased array radar AN/SPY 1D(V), will effectively extend the air defence protection offered by these superior ships.
The AWDs will carry a helicopter for surveillance and response to support key warfare areas. The surface warfare function will include long-range anti-ship missiles and a naval gun capable of firing extended range munitions in support of land forces.
As they enter service, the AWDs will be equipped with a sophisticated Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), which will enable each vessel to act as a part of a wider «grid» of sensor and weapon platforms that can share surveillance and targeting information.
The Hobart Class AWDs will also conduct undersea warfare and be equipped with modern sonar systems, decoys, surface-launched torpedoes and an array of effective close-in defensive weapons.
These capabilities will ensure the AWDs have the layered defensive and offensive capability required to counter conventional and asymmetric threats. When the Hobart Class AWDs (HMAS Hobart 39, HMAS Brisbane 41 and HMAS Sydney 42) enter service, there will be around 100 Aegis equipped ships operating across the globe.
|Length||481.3 feet/146.7 m|
|Beam||61 feet/18.6 m|
|Draft||23.6 feet/7.2 m|
|Full load displacement||7,000 tonnes|
|Main Engine||36 MW/48,276 hp|
|Top speed||28+ knots/32 mph/52 km/h|
|Range at 18+ knots/21 mph/33 km/h||5,000+ NM/5,779 miles/9,300 km|
|Combat System||Aegis Weapon System Baseline 7.1|
|AN/SPY-1D(V) Phased Array Radar (81 NM/93 miles/150 km)|
|AN/SPQ-9B Horizon Search Radar|
|Mk-41 Vertical Launch System (48 VLS cells: RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM)/ Standard Missile-2 (SM-2)/SM-6)|
|Mk-45 Mod.4 5” (127-mm) 62 Calibre Gun|
|Advanced Harpoon Weapon Control (2 × 4 launchers)|
|Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite|
|Very Short Range Air and Surface Defence|
|Nulka Active Missile Decoy system|
|Integrated Sonar System incorporating a hull mounted and towed array sonar|
|Aviation||Flightdeck and hangar for one helicopter|
|Boats||Two Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs)|
This computer-generated animation highlights the multi-mission capability of the three naval destroyers being built as part of the Air Warfare Destroyer Project