30 April 2014
VLS MK41 modules (image : turbosquid)
Six strike-length missile modules for the Hobart Class Vertical Launch System (VLS) were this week installed into Ship 1 Hobart, marking a significant Combat System load out achievement for the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) project.
The VLS MK41 modules are a critical part of the Hobart Class Combat System which will enable the Navy’s new DDG guided missile destroyers to execute air warfare and ship self-defence tasks. It is the first major Combat System element to be loaded into the ship following consolidation.
Each ship will be fitted with six VLS modules, each containing eight cells, giving a total of 48 cells per ship. Each cell is capable of accepting, storing, preparing for launch, and launching either a single SM-2 Missile or four Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles.
AWD Alliance CEO Rod Equid said the VLS load out is the first multi-module VLS load out and has built on the in-country expertise developed through the Navy’s FFG Upgrade Project which involved installing a single-module VLS.
“Whilst the Anzac Class and Adelaide Class frigates have a single-module Vertical Launch System, the new Hobart Class destroyers will have a multi-module configuration that will provide more capacity for air warfare. It will also be the first configured to fire SM-2 medium range weapons and has the flexibility to support multiple missile types within a single weapon launching system,” said Mr Equid.
“Complex installation work, such as VLS, involves different groups working together to get the job done and has drawn on the technical expertise of the Commonwealth of Australia, United States Navy and Thales. It has been a true representation of how the Alliance operates.”
“The installation has been a coordinated activity between the AWD Alliance’s Production and Test and Activation teams for the preparation of the VLS compartment and providing the subject matter expertise for pre-staging work.”
The modules were taken out of storage from an Adelaide warehouse facility earlier this year and moved into the purpose-built Mobile Staging Platform located alongside the ship on the Common User Facility at Osborne for pre-staging work prior to installation. Following installation, the system will be operationally tested during the upcoming Combat System Light Off period.
The acquisition of the VLS modules was made by the Commonwealth of Australia, through the United States Foreign Military Sales program.
The AWD Alliance is made up of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) representing the Australian Government, ASC as the lead shipbuilder and Raytheon Australia as the mission systems integrator. The AWD Alliance is responsible for delivering three world-class destroyers to the Royal Australian Navy. The AWDs are being built for Australia’s specific defence needs and will provide a significant increase in Australia’s defence capabilities.