The construction on the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) third air warfare destroyer, the future HMS Sydney, has started with the keel laying ceremony, marking significant progress on the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) programme.
The $8bn AWD programme, one of the largest defence projects ever undertaken in Australia, aims to deliver an affordable, effective, flexible, and sustainable air warfare destroyer platform to the RAN.
Known as SEA 4000, the AWD programme will deliver advanced multirole warships to replace the FFGs of the RAN. The remaining two vessels are Brisbane and Sydney.
AWD Alliance CEO Rod Equid said: "We are proud of this further progress. Production is now more than 70% complete across the project, and significant productivity improvements are being realised from ship to ship. We have come a long way since our first keel-laying ceremony was held three years ago.
"We recognise the importance of the work being done on the third ship, as this is where we will achieve the highest levels of productivity, based on the lessons from Sydney's sister ships."
Built by AWD Alliance, the Hobart-class vessels are based on the Navantia-designed F100 frigate, which is in service with the Spanish Navy.
The first destroyer, Hobart, will be commissioned next year and is currently under initial combat systems activation process.
Once operational, Hobart will be capable of cruising at a speed of 28k and will have the capacity to accommodate 186 crew members.
The hull consolidation phase for the second destroyer, Brisbane, is expected to complete next month.
Image: The keel laid for the third destroyer, Sydney. Photo: courtesy of Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance / Commonwealth of Australia.