Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, have presided over the formal acceptance of the Royal Australian Navy’s third and final Hobart Class guided missile destroyer.
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NUSHIP Sydney is the final of the three ships being delivered by the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance, which includes the Department of Defence, Raytheon Australia and ASC Shipbuilding, supported by Navantia Australia.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds attended the acceptance ceremony at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide, stating, "Today’s milestone demonstrates the success of the Morrison government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan.
"While the delivery of NUSHIP Sydney marks the end of this program, it represents an exciting time for the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise, as we continue to build upon the unique skills developed at this precinct and transfer them across the whole shipbuilding ecosystem."
Commodore Steve Tiffen, Director General, Naval Construction Branch, said, "There have been highs and lows as there is in every good journey and your collective effort to complete this job with not just something acceptable, but 'the best product yet' is an astounding reflection of your commitment to this project, your Navy and your country."
Speaking about the future of Australia's naval shipbuilding program ahead of the multibillion-dollar Hunter Class and Attack Class programs, CDRE Tiffen was confident about the future, saying, "The future is bright for shipbuilding in Australia and you all have much to offer and I sense good things abound for all that want to stay around shipbuilding in South Australia.
"I salute your endeavor, your 'never give in' attitude and your commitment to give it your best – no matter what the odds. Once again – an excellent performance, an excellent product 'built by Australians for Australians' and one that you should be justifiably proud."
Minister Reynolds added, "I congratulate the 5,000 workers who have worked directly on this program over the past decade, from the design phase through to the construction, integration and delivery of these magnificent ships.
"The significance of this success cannot be understated and is reflected in the truly world-class capability of these warships, and the naval shipbuilding and combat system integration skills that have been developed at Osborne."
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.
Following Sydney’s sea trials, final production work, including the integration of the MH-60R helicopter, will be completed ahead of the ship’s provisional acceptance into service in February 2020.
NUSHIP Sydney will now sail to her home port at Garden Island in Sydney, and once commissioned later this year, will join HMA Ships Hobart and Brisbane to complete Navy’s new fleet of its most capable warships to date.