The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) marked a momentous occasion on Saturday, with the commissioning of its first Air Warfare Destroyer in the presence of dignitaries, the Prime Minister, Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Industry.
HMAS Hobart is the first of three Hobart Class guided missile destroyers and the third ship to carry the name. The Hobart Class destroyers are currently the most capable surface combatants Australia has ever owned and operated, and 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 formal ceremony, which took place at Sydney's Garden Island, included the breaking of the commissioning pennant and hoisting of the Australian White Ensign for the first time, at which point the vessel officially became the responsibility of the Commanding Officer Captain John Stavridis.
Along with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Defence Minister Marise Payne and Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, the ceremony was attended by the Governor of NSW, Chief of Defence Force, Secretary of the Department of Defence, Chief of Navy and the Commander Australian Fleet.
The three AWD’s (Hobart, Brisbane and Sydney) are being built and integrated by the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance, which comprises the Department of Defence, Raytheon Australia, ASC and support from Navantia, the designer of the ships.
Over 5,000 Australians have helped construct all three AWD's over the last decade, while also creating a new combat and support system to meet the unique needs of the ADF.
Raytheon Australia told Defence Connect in delivering the combat system for the AWD, the company has accrued more than 10 million hours of combat system integration, architecture, development and testing – a first for the Australian defence industry.
Raytheon Australia is responsible for the integration of 10 major sub-systems, including the Aegis Weapon System, and associated delivery of more than 3,500 major pieces of combat system equipment required to establish the warfighting capability of the AWD.
After Hobart's provisional acceptance earlier this year, Lockheed Martin Australia congratulated Defence for receiving its first Aegis-equipped ship.
The handover of Hobart to the Department of Defence marks a significant milestone for Australia, officially joining the Lockheed Martin global Aegis fleet alongside Japan, Spain, Norway, the Republic of Korea and the US.