Construction on the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) first Hobart-class air warfare destroyer (AWD) HMAS Hobart has been marked by the keel laying ceremony in Adelaide.
It follows the previously awarded $8bn contract to ASC Alliance for the construction of three AWDs for RAN in HMAS Hobart, HMAS Brisbane and HMAS Sydney.
Aimed to deliver an economical and sustainable warship, the AWD programme, also known as SEA 4000, involves construction and fabrication of 90 separate steel blocks, 30 for each ship, as well as three sonar blocks, one for each ship.
As a prime contractor of the project, ASC will partner with BAE Systems, Forgacs and Navantia to construct building blocks for the frigates.
Hobart-class frigates will perform missions such as anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine and naval gunfire, in addition to conducting simultaneous operations in a multi-warfare environment.
HMAS Hobart will be launched following the consolidation phase at the government of south Australia's Techport facility in Adelaide.
Prior to the delivery to RAN in 2016, the destroyer is scheduled to undergo a series of sea trials and tests.
Based on the Navantia-designed F100 frigate, the AWD ships will be used in support of law enforcement operations, serve as defence aid to the civil community, collect environmental data, and undertake rescue and diplomatic roles.
Armed with an Aegis combat system, which includes SPY-1D(V) radar, Mk41 vertical launch system (VLS), and an open architecture (OA) combat system, the AWD features advanced sonar systems, decoys and surface-launched torpedoes.
The AWD Alliance comprises ASC, the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) and Raytheon.
Image: Hobart-class destroyers design will be based on Spanish Navy's F100 frigate, SPS Alvaro de Bazán. Photo: courtesy of Brian Burnell.