Defence primes have celebrated the commissioning of the first Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD), one of Australia’s most complex naval shipbuilding projects, as an achievement that has delivered a unique industrial capability.
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In comments provided exclusively to Defence Connect, Raytheon Australia's managing director Michael Ward told Raytheon staff not to "underestimate the magnitude of this achievement".
"Saturday marked a wonderful occasion for the Royal Australian Navy with the commissioning of the first Air Warfare Destroyer, the new HMAS Hobart," Ward said.
"This was no less an important occasion for Raytheon Australia. I cannot recall a more significant public acknowledgement of the extraordinary commitment of more than 300 Raytheon Australia employees over the course of more than a decade.
"We often hail that we have delivered upon our AWD promise to budget and schedule but we should not understate the magnitude of this achievement."
Raytheon Australia's workforce of 300 architects, systems engineers and project managers designed and integrated the combat system for Hobart, the most lethal warship ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy.
"As evidenced by the unprecedented first time success of combat system trials earlier this year, this has been the most successful complex naval combat system design and integration effort ever undertaken by Australian industry," Ward said.
"At the commissioning on Saturday, dignitaries naturally focused on the magnificent naval capability that had been built for the Navy – but I also want to acknowledge the magnificent industrial capability that has been built along the way."
Navantia, the designer of the vessels, added that Hobart's commissioning marked a major milestone for both Navantia Australia and the Australian shipbuilding industry and workforce.
“Navantia Australia is very proud of our role as ship designer and shipbuilding management services provider for the AWD Alliance," said Navantia Australia managing director Donato Martínez.
"Through our experience in the AWD program, Navantia Australia has developed strong partnerships with Australian industry and a deep understanding of the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Defence Force requirements."
Navantia Australia, which currently has close to 150 employees specialising naval business, was created in 2012.
HMAS Hobart is the first ship of the Hobart Class guided missile destroyers. Her sister ships will be Brisbane (III) and Sydney (V). Hobart will provide air warfare and undersea warfare defence for accompanying ships, land forces and coastal infrastructure, in addition to self-protection against missiles and aircraft. Builder’s sea trials for NUSHIP Brisbane are expected to commence in late 2017.