The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) third and final air warfare destroyer (AWD), the future HMAS Sydney (DDG 42), has officially commenced the first phase of its sea trials this month, according to the Australian Department of Defense (DoD).
The first round of sea trials will test the ship’s hull, propulsion and navigation systems. A following, more advanced phase of sea trials scheduled for October will to test the destroyer’s combat and communications systems.
The HMAS Sydney is expected to be commissioned in March 2020.
The HMAS Sydney is the third and final ship of the 7,000-ton Hobart-class of guided-missile (air warfare) destroyers. The surface combatant, based on the Navantia-designed Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate (aka F-100) currently in service with the Spanish Navy, was laid down in November 2015.
The Hobart-class is the first class of Australian warships to be built around the U.S.-made Aegis combat system and the first warship class outside the U.S. Navy to be fitted with a so-called cooperative engagement capability (CEC), a new wide-area integrated air defense system.
“CEC interfaces with the Aegis combat system and enhances its early detection capability,” I explained previously. “It is a new wide-area integrated air defense system that allows the real-time sharing of sensor data on air targets, including incoming enemy aircraft and cruise missiles between CEC-equipped destroyers.”
The armament of the HMAS Sydney will include the Mark 41 Vertical Launching System capable of firing surface-to-air missiles, Harpoon over-the-horizon anti-ship missiles, light-weight torpedoes, and a Mark 45 127-millimeter gun. The warship will also carry a MH-60R Seahawk anti-submarine warfare helicopter.
The construction of the Hobart-class is overseen by the AWD Alliance, a consortium that coordinates the work of Spanish ship maker Navantia, the Australian shipbuilder ASC, mission systems integrator Raytheon Australia, U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin, and the Australian Department of Defense.
“Over the past decade, more than 5,000 people from across the Department of Defense, ASC, Raytheon Australia and Navantia have dedicated millions of hours of work towards delivering the most capable warships ever to be operated by the Royal Australian Navy,” Australian Minister of Defense, Linda Reynolds, was quoted as saying on September 16.
“This is underpinned by over 2,700 suppliers who have supported the AWD Alliance in its efforts to expand Australian Industry Capability for the overall Program, ”she added.
“Through the AWD program we have created a local workforce with specialist shipbuilding and complex systems integration skills that will form the foundation for future shipbuilding projects in Australia.”