The Australian air warfare destroyer (AWD) alliance has awarded a contract to Toll North to transport 66 hull blocks from Newcastle and Melbourne to Adelaide for assembly into three Australian Navy Hobart Class AWDs.

Australia’s minister for defence materiel and science, Greg Combet, said full block production was now underway at three shipyards – ASC in Adelaide, BAE Systems in Melbourne and Forgacs in Newcastle.

Under the A$25m contract, Toll North will transport the completed blocks on a barge towed by a tug boat from the Melbourne and Newcastle shipyards to Adelaide.

“The blocks will begin to arrive at the Government of South Australia’s common user facility by mid 2011 for consolidation into the complete warship,” Combet said.

Each Hobart Class destroyer uses 31 blocks, which will be transported in groups, with 15 trips from Melbourne and eight from Newcastle.

The first destroyer, HMAS Hobart, is scheduled to be delivered in December 2014 followed by HMAS Brisbane in March 2016 and HMAS Sydney in June 2017.