The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has named and officially launched the second of the three Hobart-class destroyers, Brisbane, marking a milestone in the air warfare destroyer (AWD) programme.

The $8bn AWD programme, one of the largest defence projects undertaken in Australia, aims to deliver an affordable, effective, flexible, and sustainable air warfare destroyer platform to the RAN.

The AWD programme, also known as SEA 4000, is formed by shipbuilder ASC, Raytheon Australia as the mission systems integrator and the Australian Government’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group.

"The advanced multi-purpose warships are equipped to combat missiles and aircraft."

AWD programme manager commodore Craig Bourke said: “Destroyer Brisbane, the third naval vessel to carry the name, acknowledges the significant contribution of naval personnel who previously served on HMAS Brisbane I and II, including those able to attend the launch today.

“Joining them are many current serving members of the Royal Australian Navy and crew members of the future destroyer Brisbane who are actively contributing to the delivery of this next-generation warship to the Department of Defence.”

The Hobart-class vessels are based on Navantia-designed F100 frigate and will be the first RAN warships to be equipped with the Aegis combat system, including a SPY-1D(V) radar, Mk 41 vertical launch system (VLS), SM-2 standard missile, as well as an open architecture (OA) combat system.

The advanced multi-purpose warships are equipped to combat missiles and aircraft, and protect accompanying ships, land units and infrastructure in coastal areas.

The first destroyer, Hobart, will complete its acceptance sea trials and will be delivered to the RAN in 2017, while Brisbane will conduct builder’s sea trials at the end of next year.

The third AWD, Sydney, will complete block consolidation and hull integration in 2017.

Image: AWD launches second destroyer Brisbane. Photo: courtesy of Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance.