Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced the arrival in Adelaide of the first of three state of the art horizon-search radars for the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers (AWDs).
“The AN/SPQ-9B radar is located on the main mast of the destroyers and can track over 200 radar contacts simultaneously with a high level of accuracy”, Mr Clare said.
“It will be used to search and track targets immediately above the sea surface, such as low-flying aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and missiles.
“The Royal Australian Navy is the first Navy outside of the United States to receive the radar which is manufactured by US company Northrop Grumman.
“It was purchased by the Australian Government through the United States Foreign Military Sales program at a cost of around $10 million each.”
“This is an important milestone in the AWD Project, which involves the construction of three new warships.
“The new ships are based on a proven design from the Spanish Navy. When complete, the AWD will be one of the most capable warships of its size in the world.
“Each AWD will have anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capability as well as the ability to embark a helicopter at sea.
Construction of the AWDs involves the fabrication of 90 separate steel blocks, 30 for each ship, as well as three additional sonar blocks at a number of shipyards in Australia and overseas.
These blocks will be brought together by ASC at the South Australian Government’s Common User Facility in Adelaide where the ships are being assembled.
5 blocks have already been delivered from Williamstown shipyard in Melbourne, with a further 12 planned to be delivered this year from shipyards in Williamstown, Newcastle and Spain including a sonar block for HMAS Hobart.
So far this year the gun software and gun weapon systems have been received, and the combat system is currently being tested in the United States.
By the end of 2013, 34 more blocks are due to be completed, work will have begun on the third ship HMAS Sydney and trials of crew training will have commenced.