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Australian DoD receives third and final Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyer

02 March 2020
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The Australian DoD received Sydney, the third and final AWD on order for the RAN, in a ceremony held in Adelaide on 28 February. Source: Commonwealth of Australia

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) took delivery of the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) third and final Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD), the future HMAS Sydney (pennant number 42), at the Osborne naval shipyard in Adelaide on 28 February.

The acceptance ceremony, which was attended by Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, marked the conclusion of the AUD9 billion (USD6 billion) AWD construction programme to replace six Adelaide-class (US Oliver Hazard Perry design) guided-missile frigates, the last of which was decommissioned in October 2019, with the 7,000 tonne Aegis-equipped AWDs.

The third Hobart-class destroyer is expected to be commissioned in Sydney on 20 May and undertake work-up activities until the end of the year in preparation for up to six months of US Navy Combat System Ship Qualification (CSSQT) trials.

These will include firings over the Pacific Test Range off San Diego of the destroyer's RIM-66 SM-2 Block 3B and RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSMs) air-defence missiles.

Successful completion of the US CSSQT should clear the way for final operational capability (FOC) for all three AWDs to be declared simultaneously by Vice Adm Noonan.

First-of-class HMAS Hobart was commissioned in 2017 while the second, HMAS Brisbane , was commissioned the following year: each more than two years behind the original schedule, which itself was re-baselined three times.

Delivery of Sydney was several months earlier than previously re-scheduled following a decision to modify the storage of Mk 54 anti-submarine torpedoes and AGM-114N Hellfire air-to-surface missiles for the ship's MH-60R multirole naval helicopter as part of the construction process rather than after its completion.

Reynolds confirmed that the 13-year AWD programme had involved challenges but described Sydney as "one of the world's most capable naval vessels", providing credible deterrence, scalable response options, and the ability to withstand counter coercion.

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