Hobart Class Ships: Aussie Anti-Air Umbrella
August 14/18: Aegis support The government of Australia is set to receive support services for its destroyers as part of a US foreign military sale valued at $23.9 million. Lockheed Martin will provide the Royal Australian Navy with engineering and logistics support for its Aegis combat system installed on the Australian Air Warfare Destroyer Hobart Class vessels. 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. Hobart will provide air defence for accompanying ships in addition to land forces and infrastructure in coastal areas, and for self-protection against missiles and aircraft. The Aegis Combat System incorporating the state-of-the-art phased array radar, AN/SPY 1D(V), in combination with the SM-6 missile, will provide an advanced air defense system capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges in excess of 93 miles. The destroyers can also be deployed in law enforcement operations, defence aid to the civil community, collection of environmental data, rescue operations and diplomatic roles. Work will be performed in Adelaide, Australia and three US locations including Moorestown, New Jersey, among others. Work is scheduled for completion by January 2020.
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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