The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Hobart-class guided missile destroyer HMAS Sydney has set sail to conduct combat systems sea qualification trials.

The ship departed its home port at Fleet Base East with a full crew for its deployment to the US.

Before departing, the ship’s company voluntarily received their first Covid-19 vaccine dose.

The AEGIS weapons system test is an important and final milestone to be completed prior to HMAS Sydney’s introduction into service.

The trials will confirm the destroyer’s availability for operational deployments.

Fleet commander rear admiral Mark Hammond said it also marks ‘the culmination of more than a decade of work by the Australian Shipbuilding Industry to deliver this war-fighting capability to navy’.

Constructed in Australia by the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance, Sydney is the last of the three Hobart-class guided missile destroyers.

The Hobart-class vessels are based on the Navantia-designed F100 frigate, which is in service with the Spanish Navy.

The AWD Alliance includes ASC, Raytheon Australia, Navantia Australia, and the Australian Department of Defence.

Sydney was commissioned in May 2020 and completed the Aegis Waterfront Training in August the same year.

It is designed primarily to provide air defence to RAN task groups and support land forces and protect key infrastructure in coastal areas.

The ship’s Aegis weapon system incorporates an advanced phased array AN/SPY 1D(V) radar along with the SM-2 missile.

It serves as an advanced air defence system that can engage enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges of more than 150km.