Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has confirmed that the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart Class guided missile destroyers will receive an Aegis combat system upgrade, which will increase the Australian Defence Force’s air and missile defence capability.
As part of the upgrade, the Hobart Class will also have an Australian developed interface installed to integrate the Aegis combat system with the rest of the ship’s systems.
Minister Reynolds said the Hobart Class are the most capable and lethal warships Australia has ever built, increasing our interoperability with the US and allowing us to work even closer with our allies and partners.
"The Aegis combat system is the brain of Navy’s integrated air and missile defence capability. In the face of compressed timelines and to protect Australian forces, Defence requires the agility to sense, decide and take action against contemporary and future threats," Minister Reynolds explained.
As part of the government’s enterprise approach, the Australian Interface will be designed and developed by Saab Australia, leveraging their combat management system experience gained across the rest of Navy’s surface fleet. The Australian Interface will also be common across both the Hobart and Hunter Classes.
Minister Reynolds added, "As part of the Morrison government’s $270 billion investment outlined in the 2020 Force Structure Plan, we recognise that advanced long‑range and hypersonic missiles and directed energy weapons require the ADF to continuously build robust air and missile defence capability options."
The investment in upgrades will ensure our Navy is equipped and jointly networked to protect the nation from future air and missile threats, while growing jobs in key Australian combat system development and integration areas.
"By installing the latest Aegis combat system and developing the Australian Interface here in Australia, we are guaranteeing the development of a long‑term Australian combat management system capability," Minister Reynolds said.
Defence will commence industry and state engagement to inform government consideration in 2021 on the shipyard location to deliver these upgrades.
Work in Australia to install the new Aegis combat system and Australian Interface in Navy’s destroyers and frigates is planned to commence in 2024.
Australia's Hobart Class guided missile destroyers (DDG) are based on Navantia's F100 Alvaro De Bazan Class of frigates and incorporate the Lockheed Martin Aegis combat management system with Australian-specific equipment to ensure that the RAN is capable of defending Australia and its national interests well into the next two decades.
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.
The vessels carries a range of weapons systems, including a Mk41 Vertical Launch System containing SM-2 Standard Missiles and Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles, a Mk 45 five-inch main gun, Phalanx close-in weapons system, two 25mm Typhoons guns, and MU90 and Mk 54 light-weight torpedoes for subsurface defence.
HMA Ships Hobart, Brisbane and Sydney are based at Garden Island in Sydney.