BAE Systems has delivered the first two hull blocks of the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) second Hobart-class air warfare destroyer (AWD), HMAS Brisbane, Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare has revealed.
The delivery forms part of a $8bn contract awarded to ASC Alliance for construction of three AWDs, HMAS Hobart, HMAS Brisbane and HMAS Sydney, for RAN.
The two blocks, 415 and 111, have undergone inspections at the Williamstown shipyard, Australia, prior to their delivery.
Clare said that the two blocks would be merged to equip the 48 cell MK 41 vertical launch system (VLS), while forming part of the front third of the HMS Brisbane vessel.
"The VLS can store and then fire SM-2 or Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles in quick succession and is an important element of the combat system that will be installed into the Hobart Class destroyers," Clare said.
The AWD programme, also known as SEA 4000, involves construction and fabrication of 11 blocks by BAE, including seven blocks for the first destroyer and two for the second frigate.
HMAS Hobart is scheduled to be delivered to RAN in early 2016, while HMAS Brisbane is likely to start consolidation in early 2014.
Construction on the third ship of the class, HMAS Sydney, is currently under the block fabrication stage.
Equipped with advanced sonar systems, decoys and surface-launched torpedoes, the Hobart-class vessels can be used in law enforcement operations, defence aid to the civil community, collection of environmental data, rescue operations and diplomatic roles.
Based on the Navantia-designed F100 frigate, the AWD ships will provide air defence for vessels, land-based forces and infrastructure in coastal lines, in addition to anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations.
The AWD Alliance comprises ASC, the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) and Raytheon.
Image: HMAS Brisbane destroyer's hull blocks arrive at Adelaide. Photo: courtesy of Commonwealth of Australia - Department of Defence.