The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) first air warfare destroyer (AWD), the HMAS Hobart, has moved ahead following the delivery of the first keel block, which will be used to build the destroyer.

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare said, “This is an important step forward in the A$8bn [US$8.3bn] project to construct three new warships.

“Approximately 70 blocks will be shipped to Adelaide over the next four years where they will be consolidated into three new warships,” he added.

According to the minister, the construction of the AWDs include 90 separate steel blocks being built at shipyards in Adelaide (ASC), Melbourne (BAE Systems), Newcastle (Forgacs) and Ferrol, Spain (Navantia).

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Developed by Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance, the Hobart class of destroyer is a derivative of the Spanish F105 design and is a class of three ships scheduled to begin entering service with the RAN in 2013.