Australia’s first air warfare destroyer starts acceptance trials

Royal Australian Navy’s future air warfare destroyer (AWD) Hobart departed the wharf at Techport Australia Monday morning to begin a second round of more advanced sea trials off the coast of South Australia.

Known as ‘sea acceptance trials’ they follow the completion of ‘builder sea trials’ in September 2016 which tested Hobart’s hull, propulsion and navigation systems.

AWD program manager Commodore Craig Bourke said this second phase of more advanced trials will test Hobart’s full suite of mission systems, involving both platform systems and combat systems.

“These trials are the culmination of all of the preceding design, production, activation, integration and test activities conducted on Hobart to date,” Commodore Bourke said.

“Sea acceptance trials are a significant milestone for the Project as it is the first time that the AWD will be tested as a complete mission system.”

In order to fully test the ship, Hobart will work closely with a range of fighter aircraft, surface ships and helicopters, as well as other civilian platforms in a range of simulated scenarios.

Raytheon Australia’s managing director, Michael Ward noted the complexity and sophistication of the AWD combat system which will be tested during the trials.

“Raytheon Australia is responsible for the integration of ten major subsystems, including the Aegis weapon system, which is provided through foreign military sales, and associated delivery of more than 3,500 major pieces of combat system equipment required to establish the warfighting capability of the AWD. This will contribute to making the AWD the most lethal and sophisticated warship ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy.”

AWD Alliance general manager Paul Evans said the Alliance is looking forward to the successful completion of ‘sea acceptance trials’ as a pre-requisite to enable the AWD Alliance to deliver Hobart to the Commonwealth in mid-2017.

“On delivery of our first Air Warfare Destroyer, the Royal Australian Navy will gain a new and potent capability it has never before possessed, and the most capable and lethal warship it has ever operated,” Evans said.

Based on Navantia’s F100 design, the air warfare destroyers will provide air defense for accompanying ships as well as land forces and infrastructure on nearby coastal areas. The Aegis weapon system incorporating the phased array radar, AN/ SPY 1D(V), in combination with the SM-2 missile, will provide an air defense system capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges in excess of 150 kilometers.

The AWDs will also carry a MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ naval combat helicopter for surveillance and response to support key warfare areas. The surface warfare function will include long range anti-ship missiles and a naval gun capable of firing extended range munitions in support of land forces. The AWDs will also be able to conduct undersea warfare and will be equipped with modern sonar systems, decoys and surface-launched torpedoes.

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