The first of three 7,000-tonne Hobart-class air warfare destroyers (AWDs) was formally inducted into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) on 23 September and is expected to be ready for operational tasking in late 2018.
Attending the commissioning ceremony of HMAS Hobart held at Fleet Base East in Sydney, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull referred to the “brinkmanship” of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and stressed the criticality of having a strong and well-equipped Australian Defence Force (ADF) “in these uncertain times”.
The second ship of the class, Brisbane , will undertake builder’s sea trials in the final quarter of 2017, with delivery to the RAN scheduled for September 2018. The third ship, Sydney , will be handed over in December 2019.
Formally designated guided missile destroyers (DDG), the Hobart-class vessels are to replace six Adelaide-class (US Oliver Hazard Perry design) guided missile frigates. Only three ships of the Adelaide class remain in service, of which one, HMAS Darwin , will be retired in December 2017.
Based on Navantia’s F-100 Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate design (with a number of Australian-specific modifications), the Hobart-class deploys the Aegis combat system incorporating the AN/SPY 1D(V) phased array radar.
In RAN service the 48-cell MK 41 strike-length vertical launch system accommodates Standard Missile-2 medium-range Block IIIA (SM-2MR Block IIIA) and SM-2MR Block IIIB long-range surface-to-air missiles as well as quad-packed medium-range RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSMs) Block I.
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