Australia’s first Aegis combat system based guided missile destroyer, HMAS Hobart, has ended the year in spectacular style, conducting weapons and systems evaluations with the United States Navy off the US West Coast.
HMAS Hobart’s crew deployed to the United States well aware that this was no ordinary deployment. At stake was the Destroyer’s ability to successfully operate the most advanced weapons system ever owned by the Royal Australian Navy. Hobart also became the first ship of its class and the first International Partner to demonstrate an ability to operate in synch with US forces, known as a ‘Co-Operative Engagement Capability’ (CEC).
The USN wasted no time in putting Hobart through its paces, particularly in relation to the Aegis combat system. HMAS Hobart's crew was also challenged by a series of tests and demonstrations to verify and validate the capabilities of the ship. Part of this validation included a series of at sea tests known as Combat System Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT). The aim was to achieve a sustainable level of combat and weapon system readiness. The Australians didn’t disappoint.
Commanding Officer of HMAS Hobart, Captain John Stavridis says the Americans threw everything at his people, who passed with flying colours.
“We were presented with some of the world’s toughest and most challenging threats; modern anti-ship missiles, maritime strike aircraft, fighters and high speed attack craft. On every occasion we successfully defended all threats,” said CAPT Stavridis.
The firings were also a point of pride for members of the Ship's Company. Able Seaman Electronic Technician Stacey Verrall was ecstatic to be able to complete validation in the test and recognition of the training and effort required to achieve such a positive outcome.
“This is what we have trained for and to be able to conduct the missile firings here has been a terrific opportunity and a humbling experience,” AB Verrall said.
CAPT Stavridis said this was a true team effort.
“None of this would have been possible without the incredible men and women who operate HMAS Hobart,” CAPT Stavridis said.
“They took this unknown and untested first-of-class ship and transformed her into a warship that is truly first class.”
HMAS Hobart returned to Fleet Base East to be met by the Fleet Commander, RADM Jonathan Mead. RADM Mead was also proud of the achievements of HMAS Hobart.
“This ship represents the future of the Royal Australian Navy’s surface combatants: capable, competent and lethal.
“With her recently commissioned sister ship HMAS Brisbane, and soon to be delivered NUSHIP Sydney, they will be able to defend our Fleet against any threat.”
Most importantly for the crew of HMAS Hobart, many families and friends were there to meet them and welcome them home in time for Christmas and a well-deserved break after a busy year.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20184736.