The construction cost of the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) first vessel in the $8bn air warfare destroyer (AWD) programme has crossed the estimates by $870m, the consortium contracted for the project has stated.
Construction of the first vessel, HMAS Hobart, has been delayed for approximately 30 months due to various challenges.
However, AWD Alliance CEO Rod Equid said that the first vessel in this series has neared completion, and the remaining two ships, HMAS Brisbane and HMAS Sydney, are under steady progress.
HMAS Hobart is expected to start sea trials in September next year, while the delivery is scheduled for July 2017.
With 68% progress in the construction, HMAS Brisbane is expected to be delivered in September 2018.
Part of Australia's SEA 4000 programme, the new warships will replace the RAN's Adelaide-class frigates.
Based on the Navantia-designed F100 frigate, the AWD ships will be used in support of law enforcement operations, serve as defence aid to the civil community, collect environmental data, and undertake rescue and diplomatic missions.
The warships will be armed with an Aegis combat system that includes SPY-1D(V) radar, Mk41 vertical launch system (VLS), and an open architecture (OA) combat system. It will features advanced sonar systems, decoys and surface-launched torpedoes.
According to Equid, the delays in the construction schedule occurred due to employee inexperience as approximately 95% of the workforce required training in specialised roles.
in addition, delays were reportedly caused by issues with drawings available for the alliance to work with, while block subcontractors created delays at an early stage of the construction phase.
Image: An artist's conception of the Hobart-class guided missile destroyer. Photo: courtesy of US Naval Institute.