Third and Final Air Warfare Destroyer HMAS Sydney V Commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy

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By: MG Mahmud

CANBERRA/SYDNEY: Australia’s SEA 4000 Air Warfare Destroyer programme has officially come to an end with the commissioning of HMAS Sydney V (DDG 42) at sea during transit from Jervis Bay to Sydney.

Minister for Defence, Senator Linda Reynolds said her commissioning marks a significant milestone in the Morrison Government’s $90 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan for three advanced air warfare destroyers of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

“The commissioning of the final Hobart Class Destroyer not only marks the beginning of a new era for the Navy, but also demonstrates the success of this Government’s Australian Naval Shipbuilding Plan,” Minister Reynolds said May 19. The commissioning ceremony was conducted off the coast of New South Wales earlier Monday.

“The Navy is now equipped with a new level of flexibility and lethality to protect maritime task groups operating in an increasingly complex region, while also allowing us to work even closer with our allies,” she said.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, said as the fifth warship to bear this name, she inherits an important legacy.  “Sydney was technically upgraded during her build to integrate the MH-60R “Romeo” Seahawk submarine-hunting helicopter and her Close-in Weapons Systems, making her Australia’s most lethal ship,” VAdm Noonan said.

“She is designed to protect task groups by providing air defence to accompanying ships, in addition to land forces and infrastructure in coastal areas, and self-protection against missiles and aircraft.”

The 6,250 tonne warship is equipped with advanced combat systems, providing destroyer with layered defensive and offensive capabilities required to counter conventional and asymmetrical threats. Her sister ships are HMAS Hobart (III) and HMAS Brisbane (III). The 147-metre Air Warfare Destroyer Sydney is the last of three Hobart Class vessels built for the Royal Australian Navy and is based on the Spanish Navantia F100 frigate design which is also fitted with the US Aegis system. 

HMAS Sydney, whose keel was laid down on 19 November 2015, will be home-ported at Fleet Base East at her namesake city. The Hobart class is said to be the most capable Australian ship ever produced in an Australian shipyard, and the most advanced ships ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy.  

Besides the single BAE Systems 5″ (127mm) Mark 45 Mod 4 turret gun at the forecastle for naval surface fire support, the ship has the latest Phalanx close in weapon system CIWS 1B2 and two 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain guns to counter close in aerial and assymmetrical  surface threats. The Lockheed Martin Aegis Combat System incorporating the state-of-the-art phased array radar, AN/SPY 1D(V), in combination with the Raytheon SM-2 missile, will provide an advanced air defence system capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges in excess of 150km. The 48-cell Mark 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) can fire RIM-66 Standard 2 or RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles. To counter surface targets, HMAS Sydney has a  pair of Boeing Harpoon anti-ship quad launchers fitted amidships. Two Mark 32 Mod 9 twin-tubed torpedo launchers support the EuroTorp MU90 advanced light weight torpedo to deal with undersea threats. 

HMAS Sydney’s Command Warrant Officer Ben McQueen stands with the ship’s life ring following her commissioning ceremony at sea off the coast of NSW.