One vessel remains in Australia's Air Warfare Destroyer program. Pictured, first-of-class HMAS Hobart. Photo courtesy of AWD Alliance
CANBERRA, Australia, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The Australian military launched its second Hobart-class air warfare destroyer in a move officials hailed as a significant milestone for the program.
Air warfare destroyers are vessels being built for the Australian Defense Force by a collaboration of several defense contractors including ASC and Raytheon Australia. The new ships are designed to provide improved maritime protection and land support for the country's ground forces.
Australian Defense Minister Dan Tehan says the launch of the second ship represents a significant step forward for the country's naval forces.
"I have been on-board the first destroyer, Hobart, and it is quite apparent these completed ships will become a valuable asset to the Royal Australian Navy," he said in a press release. "Australia is undertaking an unprecedented upgrade of its naval capabilities, and the additional of the Brisbane to our fleet will help ensure our ongoing national security."
The second Hobart-class ship was named Brisbane after a city in the Australian state of Queensland.
"The Brisbane will have cutting edge layered defensive and offensive resources capable of operating across of maritime operations, from providing entire task groups with air defence and escort duties, right through to law enforcement and rescue operations," Australian Defense Industry Minister Christopher Pyne explained.
Pyne went on to add the vessel will be used for accompanying ships, land forces, and infrastructure in coastal areas.
With the second ship launched, industry partners will now move forward with work on the third and final air warfare destroyer.