• NUSHIP Sydney departs Osborne Shipyards for sea trials.
    NUSHIP Sydney departs Osborne Shipyards for sea trials.

The third Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD), Sydney, has commenced its first phase of sea trials which will test the ship’s hull, propulsion and navigation systems.

The initial trial phase will be followed by a more advanced phase of sea trials in October to test the ship’s combat and communications systems in preparation for delivery next year.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said industry played a fundamental role in the input into Defence capability.

“Over the past decade, more than 5,000 people from across the Department of Defence, ASC, Raytheon Australia and Navantia have dedicated millions of hours of work towards delivering the most capable warships ever to be operated by the RAN,” Minister Reynolds said.

“This is underpinned by over 2,700 suppliers who have supported the AWD Alliance in its efforts to expand Australian Industry Capability for the overall Program.

“Through the AWD program we have created a local workforce with specialist shipbuilding and complex systems integration skills that will form the foundation for future shipbuilding projects in Australia.”

Sydney will arrive at Fleet Base East in the first quarter of 2020 and is likely to be handed over from CASG to the RAN towards the end of that period. Commissioning is expected to take place early in the second quarter of 2020.

The anticipated date of delivery to the RAN is several months earlier than previously scheduled thanks to a decision to modify the storage of Mk54 torpedoes and AGM-114N Hellfire missiles for the ship’s MH-60R naval combat helicopter as part of the construction process rather than after its completion.

The modifications include racks for Hellfire and Mk54 storage, enhanced safety measures and the installation of blowout doors for the magazine. Additional magazine space will enable flight-in-air material to be fitted to the Mk 54 in the magazine rather than the hangar.

Other work will include changing the external lighting systems, in particular the flight deck lights, to be more compatible with night vision devices.

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