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Shield of the fleet: Aegis above and below the waves

awd hobart
Aegis provides the Royal Australian Navy with a quantum leap in the full-spectrum of maritime combat capability (Source Dept of Defence)

Aegis has served as the shield of many allied navies since its introduction in the late '80s, but now the latest iteration of formidable combat system will be providing a quantum increase in capability for the Royal Australian Navy, both above and below the waves. 

Aegis has served as the shield of many allied navies since its introduction in the late '80s, but now the latest iteration of formidable combat system will be providing a quantum increase in capability for the Royal Australian Navy, both above and below the waves. 

Aegis is the world’s most advanced maritime warfighting capability and the world’s only maritime ballistic missile defence system. Above, on or below the surface, Aegis is a complete multi-mission combat system and is currently successfully integrated across 107 ships, nine classes for six nations, including the United States, Japan, Australia the Republic of Korea, Spain and Norway proving the system is a truly global force in ensuring maritime capability.  

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Centred around the AN/SPY-1 radar, Aegis is a fully integrated combat system, providing full 360 degree, 3D tracking capacity, Aegis is capable of simultaneously defending against attack from land targets, submarines and surface ships while automatically protecting the fleet against aircraft cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.

This integrated combat system serves to establish Aegis as a central component of the Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) providing robust anti-air warfare (AAW) capabilities, with ballistic missile defence (BMD) capabilities. Aegis is currently on its ninth baseline (BL9) has continually improved and added new capabilities to meet new threats, executed new missions and integrated technology.

Australia's first Aegis capable warships, the Hobart class guided missile destroyers have paved the way for the system to be integrated into the Royal Australian Navy, with Aegis announced as the combat system for the Hunter class guided missile frigates in conjunction with the Australian designed CEAFAR phased array radar system and a uniquely Australian interface supplied by Saab Australia. 

Integrating Aegis into the Future Frigates ensures immediate integration into Coalition taskforces from the first arrival at an area of Operations and provides growth to capabilities like IAMD and BMD roles. Aegis serves as the US Navy’s maritime command and control hub for US the joint, integrated and networked battlespace and is the key maritime component of the US’ BMD umbrella.  

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Australia's selection integration of the Aegis combat system enhances the continuing global uptake of the combat system, as Japan, Korea and the United States continue to expand their respective Aegis capable fleets across various classes of warships, namely the Maya class (Japan), Sejong the Great class (South Korea) and the Flight II/A and III Arleigh Burke class and to be determined Future Frigate (FFG-X) design (United States) serves to expand both the industrial and operational elements of the combat systems. 

This growing global fleet provides Australian industry with the opportunity to integrate and participate with the global supply chain, while also enhancing the operational understanding, integration and combat capabilities of the system to augment Australian and allied operation of the platform. 

As Australia continues to transition the ADF to a fifth generation, integrated force whereby key, fifth generation force multipliers like the F-35, the E-7A Wedgetail, P-8A Poseidon, the future submarines and key land warfare platforms, including Boxer, the successful LAND 400 Phase 3 tender, Aegis as it is integrated into the Hobart destroyers and Hunter frigates will serve as a critical element of Australia’s existing and future networked and integrated battlespace.

Shield of the fleet: Aegis above and below the waves
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