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Third next generation Australian warship launched

Defence

Australia’s third and final next generation warship has been launched in Adelaide, bringing the most complex defence project in the nation’s history a step closer to completion.

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The Air Warfare Destroyer Sydney was launched at the Osborne Naval Shipyard near Port Adelaide, South Australia, in a May 19 ceremony attended by government, naval and defence industry dignitaries.

The warship is about 75 per cent complete and will likely undergo sea trials towards the end of the year before being commissioned in 2019.

The launch comes just days before the next major milestone for the Osborne precinct with the National Security Committee expected to announce tomorrow who will build nine Australian frigates at Osborne from 2020.

Like its two sister ships, Sydney is 146.7m long and will have a top speed of more than 28 knots (52km/h), a range of about 5000 nautical miles and accommodation for more than 200 personnel.

It will also carry a range of weapons, detection and electronic warfare systems on board, which include an Aegis Weapon System Baseline 7.1, SPQ Horizon Search Radar, 48 vertical launch missile cells, an Mk 45 5″ 62 Calibre gun for coastal operations and two quad launchers of anti-ship HARPOON weapon systems.

The three ships in the A$8 billion project were ordered in 2007 and the first ship, HMAS Hobart, was delivered in June 2017. The second air warfare destroyer, Brisbane, successfully completed the first phase of builder’s sea trials in November, which included testing the ship’s propulsion, manoeuvring, control and navigation systems. It is expected to be delivered to the Commonwealth mid-year while Sydney is due for delivery in 2019.

AWD Program Manager Commodore Craig Bourke said more than 5000 people and 1500 suppliers had contributed millions of hours of effort to the AWD program over the past decade

“The complexity of this project is reflected in the sophistication of the AWDs – these warships will provide a true step-change in capability for the Australian Defence Force,” said CDRE Bourke.

“As the most potent warships Australia has ever possessed, all three destroyers feature an advanced anti-submarine warfare capability, state-of-the-art radar technology and an air defence system capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles at an extended range.”

ASC Shipbuilding Acting CEO Jim Cuthill said the launch of Sydney marked a decade of hard work, commitment and collaboration by ASC Shipbuilding and its AWD Alliance partners.

“With the building of each ship, the ASC shipbuilding workforce has demonstrated continuous improvement and innovation – I congratulate the workforce on building this impressive warship, and the two that came before it,” he said.

Formerly known as Techport Adelaide, the Osborne Naval Shipyard about 15km from the centre of Adelaide is Australia’s premier naval industry hub. It has a rich history of naval shipbuilding dating back to the six Collins Class Submarines constructed there by ASC from 1990 to 2003. The submarines are still also maintained at the site.

The precinct will be home to the $35 billion Future Frigate project. The Australian Government is expected to announce on May 22 which of the three contenders – BAE Systems, Navantia or Fincantieri – has won the contract to build the nine ships.

Osborne is also expected to be where 12 Shortfin Barracuda submarines will be built by French shipbuilder Naval Group for the Royal Australian Navy from 2022/23.

The Future Submarines and Future Frigates projects are part of an $89 billion Australian defence spend, which also 12 offshore patrol vessels.

 

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