Following 21 days at sea off the coast of South Australia, the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance has celebrated the completion of the Sea Acceptance Trials by HMAS Hobart.
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The alliance, made up of the Commonwealth, ASC Shipbuilding, Raytheon Australia, Navantia and crew members, is on track to deliver Hobart to Department of Defence in June 2017.
The delivery of Hobart will mark more than a decade of dedication and effort by the AWD shipbuilding and combat system workforce on one of the most complex defence projects in Australia’s history, according to the the AWD Alliance.
General manager of AWD Alliance Paul Evans said the sea trials have been a significant achievement for the project in proving the advanced platform and combat systems on board the ship.
"Over the past five weeks, the AWD Alliance has conducted some 20 platform system tests and 45 combat system tests, to successfully validate Hobart’s complete Mission System. Combined, these systems will deliver a world leading capability for the Royal Australian Navy," said Evans.
"Completing Acceptance Sea Trials on a first of class ship is a momentous occasion for the alliance as we move closer to delivering Hobart to Defence. It has been achieved through the extraordinary efforts of the on-board crew and support team, whose dedication and commitment has been instrumental in ensuring the success of Hobart’s sea trials."
Shipbuilder ASC, shipbuilder manager Navantia and combat systems integrator Raytheon Australia, offered their congratulations on the successful completion of Sea Acceptance Trials.
ASC Shipbuilding CEO Mark Lamarre said the completion of the Sea Acceptance Trials is a proud moment for the shipbuilding workforce and the broader naval shipbuilding industry in Australia.
"Successful completion of Sea Acceptance Trials is a great moment for the thousands of shipbuilders who have been working on this project, bringing the ship to life," Lamarre said.
"This proves the highly skilled and professional naval shipbuilding capability that exists right here in South Australia.
"It is a testament to the collaborative nature of the project, which has seen industry working together to deliver to the RAN a new and potent air warfare capability. This achievement shows the way forward for future shipbuilding in Australia."
Jorge Filgueira, Navantia Australian operations director, also echoed these sentiments and said, "Navantia acknowledges this significant achievement as being the result of a team effort, where Navantia’s experience as designer and shipbuilder has contributed significantly to the success of the program.
"Navantia’s highly skilled team is well integrated within the AWD Alliance and is committed to having the program achieve its delivery schedule.
"The results of the sea trials are very encouraging and provide the necessary confidence that we are on track to build up the capability that will be necessary to undertake the future naval continuous shipbuilding programs in Australia."
Managing director of Raytheon Australia Michael Ward said, “The successful testing of the AWD combat system highlights the strength of Raytheon Australia’s capabilities in combat systems integration and the company’s ability to deliver to budget and schedule.
"As the combat systems integrator for the project, Raytheon Australia has applied its highly skilled AWD workforce of 350 people including architects, systems engineers and project managers to the project over the last decade.
"The combat system is what gives the AWDs their lethality. The work that Raytheon Australia has successfully undertaken is critical to the deterrent nature of the naval surface fleet and its ability to interoperate with the United States."
Commodore Craig Bourke, AWD Alliance program manager, commended the success of the project and praised the efforts of the crew on board.
"Hobart’s sensors, weapons and communications systems have been put to the test by Royal Australian Air Force and civilian aircraft, Royal Australian Navy ships and helicopters through a complex series of simulated scenarios and battle space management," CDRE Bourke said.
"This achievement demonstrates and proves the capacity of Australia’s sovereign defence industry to successfully build and integrate ships for our specific defence needs.
"It also speaks volumes about the AWD Alliance’s close level of customer involvement and collaboration on every aspect of the project, laying the foundations for future defence projects in Australia."
Further progress on the AWD Project is expected to be achieved in 2017 with the second destroyer, HMAS Brisbane undertaking Builder’s Sea Trials and third destroyer, HMAS Sydney, achieving hull consolidation later this year.
Work on AWD Hobart commenced in January 2010, the hull consolidation was in March 2014, and the official launch was in May 2015, with the Builder’s Sea Trials in September 2016.