The Royal Australian Navy’s most advanced warships are now ready for operational deployment, with the Navy saying they will boost Australia’s capacity to work with its strategic partners and maintain peace in the region.
Three Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyers have reached final operational capability after the third ship, HMAS Sydney, completed a successful test and evaluation period off the coast of the United States and Canada.
Chief of the RAN, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, said the milestone ushered in a new era for the service.
“[Our] three Hobart-class destroyers use a number of systems in common with the US Navy, which allows our ships to be fully interchangeable with the most advanced allied naval force in the Indo-Pacific region,” Noonan said.
Destroyers will operate for next 30 years
“[These] destroyers are a key contribution to the Australia-United States alliance and will be employed in maintaining the peace and prosperity of our region for the next 30 years.
“Due to the ever-changing strategic environment, the Hobart class will continue to be upgraded with the latest weapons and sensors over coming years in order to maintain a capability edge.”
According to the Navy, about 5,000 skilled Australians have been employed on the Air Warfare Destroyer program over the past decade. In addition, more than 2,700 different suppliers were involved in HMAS Sydney’s construction, alone.
The Sydneyreturned to Australia in July after a successful test period, which included missile firings against low-altitude and supersonic targets.
Noonan emphasised that the Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyers were the most capable warships in Australia’s naval history.
Air, surface and undersea capabilities
“They are equipped with a layered defensive and offensive capabilities for above-water, surface and undersea warfare,” he said.
“Our destroyers are a force multiplier for the Australian Defence Force and a key element of the Joint Force Integrated Air and Missile Defence capability.”
Meanwhile, the new supply ship, HMAS Supply, is one step closer to achieving initial operating capability later this year, after it conducted its first replenishment at sea with the HMAS Anzac off the east coast of Australia.
A ‘replenishment at sea’ is the transfer of fuel, cargo and water to naval combat units while the ships are underway. It involves 30 to 60 personnel, depending on the type of goods being transferred and requires technical and non-technical expertise.
HMAS Supplyis one of two new supply vessels purchased for the Royal Australian Navy.