The Royal Australian Navy’s third and final Hobart-class air warfare destroyer HMAS Sydney has sailed in company with sister ship HMAS Brisbane to test its Aegis combat system.
Commanding officer HMAS Sydney Commander Edward Seymour stated that this was the first time Sydney had sailed in company with another guided missile destroyer and also the first time joining another vessel at sea equipped with the cooperative engagement capability (CEC).
Following the Aegis waterfront training, Sydney will start unit ready workup in preparation for final live weapons and systems tests in the United States next year.
“This activity is a great opportunity to use some of the more complex systems that we have to provide crew training and preparedness,” he said.
Sydney has been progressing through the DDG Force Generation cycle which includes conducting Aegis Waterfront Training alongside with the support of a team of specialists from Lockheed Martin in the USA.
“The waterfront training provides us with the ability to train ourselves to generate the ship’s combat systems training team and integrate this as part of the whole ship training regime. We have achieved this with valuable assistance from the team from the United States who bring expertise and experience on the Aegis Combat system,” said Commander Seymour.
Aegis incorporates the phased array AN/SPY 1D(V) radar in combination with the missile armament and CEC, providing Sydney and her sister ships an advanced air defense capability greater than any previously seen in the RAN.
Australia’s Aegis upgrade
The Australian government announced on September 1 that the class of destroyers were set to undergo an upgrade of the Aegis system which will further increase the country’s air and missile defense capability.
According to the government, the destroyers will also have an Australian-developed interface installed to integrate the Aegis combat system with the rest of the ship’s systems.
As part of the Australia’s enterprise approach, the Australian interface will be designed and developed by Saab Australia, leveraging their combat management system experience gained across the rest of navy’s surface fleet.
“As part of the Morrison Government’s $270 billion investment outlined in the 2020 Force Structure Plan, we recognise that advanced long‑range and hypersonic missiles and directed energy weapons require the ADF to continuously build robust air and missile defence capability options,” defense minister Linda Reynolds said.
“The upgraded version of the Aegis combat system for the Hobart-class destroyers will also be installed in the new Hunter-class frigates.”
Work in Australia to install the new Aegis combat system and Australian interface in the navy’s destroyers and frigates is planned to start in 2024.