The Royal Australian Navy’s newest guided-missile destroyer, HMAS Sydney, has sailed in company with sister ship HMAS Brisbane to conduct training and testing of the Aegis Combat System.
Commanding Officer of Sydney Commander Edward Seymour said it was the first time the ship sailed in company with another guided missile destroyer and the first time joining another vessel at sea equipped with the co-operative engagement capability.
“This activity is a great opportunity to use some of the more complex systems that we have to provide crew training and preparedness,” CMDR Seymour said.
Sailing in company with Brisbane has also allowed the ship to exercise bridge and navigation teams, watch-keeping and communications.
Sydney has been progressing through the DDG Force Generation cycle, which includes conducting Aegis waterfront training with the support of a team of specialists from Lockheed Martin in the US.
CMDR Seymour added, “The waterfront training let’s us train ourselves to generate the ship’s combat systems training team and integrate this as part of the whole ship training regime. We have achieved this with valuable assistance from the team from the United States who bring expertise and experience on the Aegis Combat System.”
Principal Warfare Officer in Sydney’s combat information centre, Lieutenant Daniel James, said the training contributed greatly to test and validate the system and train its maintainers and operators.
“This is one of the few occasions that Australian ships have been able to employ this capability other than with US Navy platforms,” LEUT James said.
Following the Aegis Waterfront Training, Sydney will begin unit ready work-ups in preparation for final live weapons and systems tests in the US next year.
The three Hobart Class vessels, HMA Ships Hobart, Brisbane and Sydney, will primarily provide air defence for accompanying ships, in addition to land forces and infrastructure in coastal areas.
The Hobart Class’ Spanish counterparts entered service with the Spanish Navy beginning in the early 2000s, working alongside key NATO and US maritime assets.
When deployed to the Persian Gulf, the F100s became the first foreign Aegis-equipped ships to fully integrate into a US Navy Carrier Strike Group, while the class has also successfully deployed as the flagship of NATO’s Maritime Group Standing Reaction Force, highlighting the individual and interoperable capabilities of Navy’s new destroyers.
The vessels will be capable across the full spectrum of joint maritime operations, from area air defence and escort duties, right through to peacetime national tasking and diplomatic missions.
The Hobart Class combat system is built around the Aegis weapon system. Incorporating the state-of-the-art phased array radar, AN/SPY 1D(V), will provide an advanced air defence system capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges in excess of 150 kilometres.
While based upon the Spanish F100s, the Australian vessels incorporate a number of modifications and Australian-specific structural/design and combat system modifications to provide a uniquely Australian surface combatant with international provenance.