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Australian destroyer embarks on final sea trials


AUSTRALIA’S first of three next-generation destroyers has embarked on its final round of advanced sea trials off the South Australian coast.

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Hobart began its Sea Acceptance Trials this morning, the last major phase of testing before it is delivered to the Commonwealth later this year.

The Acceptance Trials will review Hobart’s mission systems, including its combat capabilities.

They will follow the successful completion of Builder Sea Trials in September, which tested Hobart’s hull, propulsion and navigation systems.

The next-gen destroyers are part of the most complex defence project in Australia's history – an $8 billion collaboration between ASC, Raytheon Australia and the Australian Department of Defence. The ships are being built at Techport Australia, about 15km northwest of Adelaide.

Raytheon Australia Managing Director Michael Ward said the Hobart’s combat system would enable it to become the most lethal warship ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy.

“Raytheon Australia is responsible for the integration of 10 major subsystems, including the Aegis Weapon System, which is provided through Foreign Military Sales, and associated delivery of more than 3500 major pieces of combat system equipment required to establish the war-fighting capability of the AWD,” he said.

“The success of the combat system integration activity is a source of tremendous pride for Raytheon Australia.”

Hobart’s Acceptance Sea Trials follow the launch of the programs second future AWD, Brisbane, in Adelaide in December.

The trials will involve close interactions with a range of fighter aircraft, surface ships and helicopters, as well as other civilian platforms in a range of simulated scenarios.

Hobart is 146.7 metres long, has a top speed of 28 knots (52km/h), a range of about 5000 nautical miles and room for more than 200 crew.

It carries a range of weapons, detection and electronic warfare systems onboard, which include an Aegis threat tracking system, SPQ Horizon Search Radar, 48 vertical launch missile cells, a 5″ gun for coastal operations and two quad launchers of anti-ship HARPOON weapon systems.

The AWDs will also be equipped with anti-surface, anti-submarine, and naval gunfire capabilities.

Hobart has surface launched torpedoes, a Phalanx short-range air and surface defence system, NULKA missile decoy system, front-mounted as well as towable sonar systems and aflight-deck suitable for a helicopter similar to an MH-60R Seahawk.

AWD Alliance General Manager Paul Evans said the Alliance is looking forward to the successful completion of the 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.

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