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Australia’s final air warfare destroyer ready for delivery after completing trials

NUSHIP Sydney during sea trials; Photo: Australian defense department

The Royal Australian Navy’s third and final air warfare destroyer (AWD), Sydney, has completed sea trials and is on track to be delivered to the navy in February 2020.

Sydney is the third and final ship being delivered by the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance which includes the Department of Defence, Raytheon Australia, and ASC Shipbuilding supported by Navantia Australia.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the success of Sydney’s sea trials represents a significant step towards its delivery.

“Today’s milestone is another example of the Liberal and National Government’s successful initiative to reform the AWD program, setting the scene for the Naval Shipbuilding Plan,” Minister Reynolds said.

“Sydney will enter into service early next year, and with her sister-ships HMA Ships Hobart and Brisbane, they will be the most potent warships to date.”

Following Sydney’s sea trials, final production work including the integration of the MH60-R helicopter, will be completed ahead of the ship’s provisional acceptance into service in February 2020.

Photo: Australian defense department

Also known as the Hobart-class, after the lead ship in the class, the AWDs are built under an AU$9 billion program with ASC as primary shipbuilder and Spanish Navantia as the designer.

The ships are over 140 meters long, have a top speed of more than 28 knots, a range of about 5,000 nautical miles and room for more than 200 crew members.

Based on Navantia’s F100 design, the air warfare destroyers are equipped with the Aegis weapon system incorporating the AN/ SPY 1D(V) phased array radar in combination with the SM-2 missile.

The ships will provide an air defense system capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges in excess of 150 kilometers.

Armament includes an Mk41 vertical launching system containing SM-2 Standard Missile and Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles, a Mk45 5-inch main gun, a Phalanx close-in weapons system, two 25mm Typhoon guns, and MU90 and Mk54 light-weight torpedoes for subsurface defense.

They also feature the exclusive Cooperative Engagement Capability, which enables them to bring together radar data from geographically dispersed ships, aircraft and ground-based units into a single integrated air picture. Australia and the US tested the system together in November 2018.