June 16 (UPI) -- The first of three planned Hobart-class air warfare destroyers has been delivered to the Royal Australian Navy at Osborne shipyard, Adelaide.
The destroyer has already completed several weeks of sea trials with testing of its vital systems and is expected to be commissioned by the RAN next year. The class is being built by the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance composed of the Australian Department of Defense, Raytheon Australia, and ASC with Navantia in a supporting role.
"Importantly, these ships will provide a safer environment for Australia's entire Defense Force, as they have the ability to move faster for longer, whilst forming a protective bubble around themselves and other assets in a task force," Christopher Pyne, Australia's Minister for Defense Industry, said in a statement.
Much of the Hobart-class is based on the F-100 frigate currently in use by the Spanish navy. It is equipped with the Aegis Combat System, which integrates with the long-rang AN/SPY1 radar to detect, track, and engage air and missile targets. The new destroyer is the first in the RAN to carry the Aegis system, with the second destroyer to carry the system currently under construction by Lockheed Martin.
The Hobart-class will have the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System capable of firing Standard-class surface-to-air missiles, in addition to being armed with RIM-162 Sea Sparrow missile and torpedoes for anti-submarine operations.
The total cost of the program will be over $8 billion, making it the most expensive weapons program ever for Australia. Delays in the Hobart-class's development and construction means it will already need extensive upgrades.