Missile firing the tip of the spear for Navy’s DDG capability

This article has photo gallery Published on CMDR Fenn Kemp (author), CPOIS Cameron Martin (photographer)

Location(s): Jervis Bay, NSW

Topic(s): Plan Pelorus, HMAS Hobart (D39)

One of HMAS Hobart's Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats being launched in Jervis Bay. (photo: CPOIS Cameron Martin)
One of HMAS Hobart's Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats being launched in Jervis Bay.

HMAS Hobart’s successful missile firing might have marked the most spectacular capability upgrade for Navy’s destroyer fleet last week, but the evolution was just one of several key improvements made to the Royal Australian Navy’s most advanced platforms.

Maintaining sea and airworthiness is a key outcome of Plan Pelorus 2022 - Navy’s strategy for the next three years.

Under seaworthiness, Navy is required to manage the 3 ‘Us’ - Upkeep, Update and Upgrade.

The Director General of Major Surface Ships (Capability Acquisition & Sustainment Organisation), Commodore Rob Elliott, is coordinating a concerted effort to ensure the DDG’s maintain their winning edge.

“The Hobart class are the most advanced platforms of their kind in this region.

“We have a responsibility to keep them at a premium level of capability,” Commodore Elliott said.

With this in mind, Hobart’s missile firings successfully tested a suite of updated Aegis software, designed to significantly increase the ship’s high end warfighting capability.

The ship also used the opportunity to test and adjust a new launch and recovery system for both Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) with up to eight personnel embarked. 

Hobart is also the first of class to fully integrate a new Mk54 Torpedo storage facility.

The DDG’s aviation capability has also been significantly upgraded, with the ship now able to house the MH-60R following modifications made during her recent extended maintenance.

The upgrades have been carried out by The Destroyer Enterprise - an organisation of 200 uniformed personnel and civilians who co-ordinate, plan, schedule and conduct engineering, supply and maintenance services in support of our Navy.

“These are significant improvements,” Commodore Elliott said.

“The integrated Defence and Industry Team in the Destroyer Enterprise have been working hard to ensure these upgrades are made on time and to budget.

“Working alongside our Industry Partners in this area has been essential in allowing Navy to maintain and improve this capability,” he said.

Similar modifications will be incorporated into HMAS Brisbane (III) when she’s alongside Garden Island, Sydney, during the first half of 2020.

These changes are currently being incorporated into NUSHIP Sydney at Techport in Adelaide, prior to her acceptance into the Navy in mid-2020.