Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyer (photo : sbs)
In an important milestone for the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program, the first of three destroyers, Hobart, was launched alongside thePortRiver wharf inAdelaide today.
This is a key achievement for the program and a big step towards the delivery of three highly capable warships to the Royal Australian Navy.
I am pleased to see the progress since my visit to Techport Australia earlier this year, when I saw Hobart fully consolidated with substantial combat and platform systems installed.
I have also had the opportunity to walk through the second destroyer Brisbane — now in an advanced state of fit-out with more than half of the blocks already consolidated on the hardstand.
Once fully operational, the warships will have a combination of great endurance, offensive and defensive weapons, flexibility and versatility. Hobart, Brisbane and Adelaide will assume a leading command and control role with the Australian Defence Force and Coalition forces capable of carrying out multi-mission operations.
The AWD program is one of the largest and most complex Defence projects ever undertaken in Australia and has been instrumental in building a strong shipbuilding capability in Australia.
It is an example of how a skilled Australian workforce working hand-in-hand with international partners can ultimately deliver warships that will have a combination of great endurance, offensive and defensive weapons, flexibility and versatility.
First of three AWD (photo : adelaidenow)
The Hobart has reached this milestone through Government and industry collaboration involving an Australian workforce of some 3000 people. This includes the AWD Alliance made up of lead shipbuilder ASC, mission systems integrator Raytheon Australia and the Department of Defence, including the Royal Australian Navy.
The program has also been supported the United States Navy, Navantia, Lockheed Martin, Forgacs, BAE Systems and MG Engineering.
As Hobart moves into this next phase, the second and third destroyers, Brisbane and Sydney, will benefit from the AWD Alliance applying lessons learned.
This experience will be drawn on should a continuous build strategy, with a regular pace of delivering new warships, be feasible.
An enterprise-level naval shipbuilding plan would provide for the long-term future of the Australian naval shipbuilding industry and avoid the peaks and troughs we are experiencing – and have experienced in the past.
With Hobart in the water, the second destroyer, Brisbane, can soon take its place on the hardstand to undergo final block consolidation, and the keel for the third destroyer, Sydney, will be laid.
The AWD Alliance can now focus on ship completion and system commissioning for Hobart, which will be followed by sea trials next year.