The Hobart Class destroyers are set to undergo an Aegis combat system upgrade, although the government has said work will not start until 2024.
The Hobart Class will also have an Australian developed interface installed to integrate the Aegis combat system with the rest of the ship’s systems.
“We recognise that advanced long range and hypersonic missiles and directed energy weapons require the ADF to continuously build robust air and missile defence capability options,” Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said. “The Aegis combat system is the brain of Navy’s integrated air and missile defence capability.
“In the face of compressed timelines and to protect Australian forces, Defence requires the agility to sense, decide and take action against contemporary and future threats.
“Recently at RIMPAC 2020, HMAS Hobart successfully conducted coordinated surface to air missile firing demonstrations using the current version of the Aegis combat system, demonstrating interoperability with the US and our ability to field air missile defence capabilities.”
The upgraded version of the Aegis combat system for the Hobart Class Destroyers will also be installed in the new Hunter Class frigates. The ships have already undergone some Aegis upgrades this year but the new program will see further integration work conducted with Australian specific requirements.
As part of the Government’s enterprise approach, the Australian Interface will be designed and developed by Saab Australia, leveraging their combat management system experience gained across the rest of Navy’s surface fleet. The Australian Interface will also be common across both the Hobart and Hunter classes.
“By installing the latest Aegis combat system and developing the Australian Interface here in Australia, we are guaranteeing the development of a long term Australian combat management system capability,” Minister Reynolds said. “This is not only a strategic Defence investment that will enhance the skills and grow a sustainable Australian combat system workforce that is over 200 strong over the next decade, but guarantees we have sovereign control of this key technology for our Navy fleet.”
Defence will commence industry and state engagement to inform Government consideration in 2021 on the shipyard location to deliver these upgrades.
As stated, work in Australia to install the new Aegis combat system and Australian Interface in Navy’s destroyers and frigates is planned to commence in 2024.