Home Asia Pacific Australia’s final AWD destroyer heads for combat system trials in the US

Australia’s final AWD destroyer heads for combat system trials in the US

HMAS Sydney starts Aegis combat systems trials
HMAS Sydney passes sister ship HMAS Brisbane as they depart Garden Island in Sydney. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Royal Australian Navy air warfare destroyer HMAS Sydney got underway from her home port at Fleet Base East in Sydney last week for trials of her Aegis weapons system with the US Navy.

The tests are a crucial milestone in order for Sydney to be declared available for operational deployments.

The Hobart-class destroyer is sailing for the US coast after previously testing the system in its home waters in September 2020 and entering service in May 2020.

Wishing Sydney fair winds and following seas on her deployment to the US to undergo her combat systems sea qualification trials there and in Canada, Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Mark Hammond said the deployment marked the culmination of more than a decade of work by the Australian Shipbuilding Industry to deliver this war-fighting capability to navy, and represented Sydney’s final milestone in the ship’s introduction into service.

Sydney is sailing with a full crew after the ship’s company voluntarily received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the North American deployment.

Hobart-class destroyers are replacing the decommissioned Adelaide-class frigates and will provide air defense for accompanying ships in addition to land forces and infrastructure in coastal areas, and for self-protection against missiles and aircraft.

The AWDs will carry MH-60R ‘Romeo’ helicopters for surveillance and response to support key warfare areas.

Sydney’s sister ships entered Hobart and Brisbane entered service in 2017 and 2018 and are also homeported at Fleet Base East.

Despite recently entering service, the destroyers are set to receive upgrades to their Aegis systems, which will further increase the country’s air and missile defense capability.

According to a government announcement from September 2020, the destroyers will receive an Australian-developed interface to integrate the Aegis combat system with the rest of the ship’s systems. Work in Australia to install the new Aegis combat system and Australian interface is planned to start in 2024.