Hobart Class Ships: Aussie Anti-Air Umbrella
October 30/18: HMAS Brisbane The Royal Australia Navy (RAN) is continuing to bolster its collaborative air-defense capabilities. The service officially inducted its second Hobart-class air warfare destroyer on October 27. The HMAS Brisbane is part of Australia’s SEA 4000 program to replace the RAN’s fleet of Adelaide Class (heavily upgraded FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class) frigates that have limited air-defense capabilities and could be hard-pressed to survive against modern anti-ship missiles. Australia’s 7,000t destroyers are based strongly on Spain’s 5,800t F-104 Mendez Nunez AEGIS “frigate”, with some features from the subsequent 6,390t F-105 Cristobal Colon. The vessel’s suite of sensors includes the Lockheed Martin and Raytheon AN/SPY 1D(V) phased array radar, and the Northrop Grumman AN/SPQ-9B surface search radar. The ship is currently equipped with SM-2 missile variants and will be able to fire the new SM-6 from 2020 onward.
Under the SEA 4000 Air Warfare Destroyer program, Australia plans to replace its retired air defense destroyers with modern ships that can provide significantly better protection from air attack, integrate with the US Navy and other coalition partners, offer long-range air warfare defense for Royal Australian Navy task groups, and help provide a coordinated air picture for fighter and surveillance aircraft. Despite their name and focus, the ships are multi-role designs, with a “sea control” mission that includes area air defense, advanced anti-submarine operations, and the ability to fight other ships.
The Royal Australian Navy took a pair of giant steps in June 2007, when it selected winning designs for its keystone naval programs: Canberra Class LHD amphibious operations vessels, and Hobart Class “air warfare destroyers.” Spain’s Navantia made an A$ 11 billion clean sweep, winning both the A$ 3 billion Canberra Class LHD and the A$ 8 billion Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer contracts. The new AWD ships were scheduled to begin entering service with the Royal Australian Navy in 2013, but that date has now slipped to 2016 or so. A 2014 ANAO report examines why – and the answers aren’t pretty.
SEA 4000: The Program
Australia’s Hobart Class AWD
SEA 4000: Industrial
SEA 4000: Contracts & Key Events
2012 – 2013
2004 – 2005
Appendix A: The SEA 4000 Design Competition
Appendix B: SEA 4000 Program Phase Organization
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: The Hobart Class
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