Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has confirmed a first for both the Australian and US navies, as Australia’s newest destroyer, HMAS Brisbane, completed a live missile engagement off the west coast of the US.
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Using remote sensor data from the USS Stockdale and the Cooperative Engagement Capability, the combat system was tested against a range of challenging targets and tactical situations.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the trials, which were held in the US over the past month, mark a ground-breaking milestone for Australia.
"This missile firing demonstrates the very highest levels of interoperability between our navies. It reaffirms the game-changing technology that the Aegis combat system brings to our Navy and the advanced capability of the Australian-built Hobart Class destroyers," Minister Reynolds explained.
HMAS Brisbane is the second of three Hobart Class guided-missile destroyers, the most complex and capable warships Australia has operated. The ship, alongside HMA Ships Hobart and Sydney, will primarily provide air defence for accompanying ships, in addition to land forces and infrastructure in coastal areas.
Cooperative Engagement Capability provides a secure communications capability between Australian and US equipped ships, aircraft or land forces and allows a unit to detect and, if needed, engage a threat identified by another ship or aircraft.
HMAS Brisbane is in the US completing her combat system trials and is due to return to Australia in December. Australia's Hobart Class guided-missile destroyers 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.
Minister Reynolds added, "By conducting these trials in the US, our Navy is able to access the world’s best expertise, instrumented ranges and analysis capabilities to provide confidence in how the ship will perform in combat."
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.