The keel for the Australian Navy’s second Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) HMAS Brisbane was laid today at Australia’s premier naval industry hub, Techport Australia. The ceremony was presided by the Australian Minister of Defence Senator the Hon David Johnston.
“Thank you all for attending today. Today is a very significant milestone, with the keel laying of the second vessel of the Air Warfare Destroyer program. This is an extremely complex programme, as you can see with all of the workers here at ASC Techport. It is very labour intensive, with skills at the high end of industrial capacity,” the Minister said.
The $8 billion AWD Programme includes construction of three destroyers of the Hobart class, named HMAS Hobart, HMAS Brisbane and HMAS Sydney. The primary shipbuilder of the Programme is ASC AWD Shipbuilder Pty Ltd and the designer is Navantia.
The AWDs will be able to conduct Undersea Warfare and will be equipped with modern sonar systems, decoys and surface-launched torpedoes. Featuring, the Aegis Weapon System incorporating the state-of-the-art phased array radar, AN/ SPY 1D(V), in combination with the SM-2 missile, the AWDs will provide an advanced air defence system capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges in excess of 150 kilometres.
The AWDs will also carry a MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ naval combat helicopter for surveillance and response to support key warfare areas.
Speaking about the potential ‘deep and unresolved issues’ in the AWD program and an independent inquiry, announced in December, the Minister sad:
“I am working on the inquiry as we stand here now, and there may be an announcement on that in the near future. But, can I take you back to the ANZAC Frigates – we produced 10 of those vessels, two of them in New Zealand, the fact was the program waxed and waned with a whole lot of influences. Principally the mining industry, the mining industry soaks up skilled workers and we take a hit. And so the pendulum vacillates over the 10 years of the cycle of this project.”
When asked by journalists about when can the construction of the new fleet of submarines be expected to commence in Adelaide, the Minister said:
“I don’t want to put a time on that because today I am meeting with people who are intimately involved with that program, which is even more complex than this program, and we are working to get a full understanding of the best way to deal with that. At the moment we have two options on the table – the son of Collins, and a wholly new bespoke design.”
|HOBART AWD CLASS SPECIFICATIONS|
|Speed||over 28 knots|
|Complement||186 + 16 aircrew|
|Range||over 5,000 nm|
Naval Today Staff, February 3, 2014; Image: AWD