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RAN’s first Air Warfare Destroyer commissioned

written by Max Blenkin | September 23, 2017

The first of three new Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyers (AWDs), HMAS Hobart, was officially commissioned into Royal Australian Navy service on Saturday, a proud occasion when the white ensign flew from the ship for the first time and she officially became Navy property.

The commissioning ceremony, at the Navy’s Fleet Base East on Sydney Harbour, was attended by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne, Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, Chief of Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett.

Hobart’s inaugural commanding officer, Captain John Stavridis, said his new ship was outstanding – a sentiment he said was shared by his 185 crewmen and women.

“The more time we spend operating the platform and understanding Aegis, the more we realise how capable this ship is,” CAPT Stavridis told sister magazine Australian Defence Business Review in an interview ahead of the commissioning ceremony.

“It is an outstanding ship; that’s not to talk down our current surface combatants but rather a reflection of what this new capability brings.”


HMAS Hobart achieves initial operational release (IOR) on commissioning, which will be followed by Navy Operational Test and Evaluation (NOTE) trials, covering first of class platform trials, integration of the MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ helicopter, gunnery and more. That culminates with US Navy combat system ship qualification trials (CSSQT, pronounced sea-squat) conducted on the instrumented range off the US west coast.

“It will put us and our ship to the test. We will of course conduct a significant amount of team training well before that period. In fact that’s already started,” CAPT Stavridis said.

“When we pass those serials and prove ourselves and Aegis, our Chief will be able to recommend IOC to government. That is the milestone which means Hobart is ready for operations.”

Final operational capability (FOC) will occur when all three ships – which the Navy now officially refers to as DDGs (guided-missile destroyers), are ready for operations.

The DDGs are based on the Navantia Alvaro de Bazan class F-100 frigate, which was selected in mid-2007.

They are being built by the AWD Alliance, a consortium of Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, ASC Shipbuilding and Raytheon.

Delays with the shipbuilding process saw the SEA 4000 program to acquire the AWD placed on the government’s projects of concern list. But a reform program implemented in 2015, with Navantia playing a greater role providing shipbuilding management services and internal reforms at ASC Shipbuilding, has seen it turned around.

“Navantia Australia is very proud of our role as ship designer and shipbuilding management services provider for the AWD Alliance,” Donato Martínez, Navantia Australia’s managing director, said in a statement marking the commissioning.

“Through our experience in the AWD program, Navantia Australia has developed strong partnerships with Australian industry and a deep understanding of the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Defence Force requirements.”

Hull blocks for all three ships, which have been assembled by at ASC at Osborne, South Australia were also built by Forgacs at Newcastle and BAE Systems at Williamtown, Melbourne.

Builder’s sea trials for for the second ship in the class, NUSHIP Brisbane, are expected to begin late this year.

An indepth feature on the Air Warfare Destroyer program by Max Blenkin will appear in the September-October issue of Australian Defence Business Review.

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Comments (33)

  • Philip


    Fantastic to see it commissioned, she is ‘sweet-as’ – looking forward to the other 2 AWDs to follow.

    With the advent of these 3x Hobart Class Aegis Air Warfare Destroyers together with the 2x Canberra Class Amphibious Assault Ships, you could be mistaken for thinking that the RAN is almost the Southern Hemisphere’s new Spanish Armada. Ole!

    (with all due respect to the RAN’s partners Navantia)

  • Tomcat Terry


    Hopefully the fourth option will be taken and this will help ease the build skills gap.

  • Paul


    Could of been bought off the shelf for much less. Great capability though. The government is wasting so much money on subs and AWDs. Buy off the shelf for a 3rd of the price.

  • Mick181


    Great thing on a Aviation ste, something that shoots down Planes.
    just kidding, well done to all concerned.
    Phillip, we are also getting 2 re-supply ships from Spain and a modified version of the Hobart is in the running for the ANZAC class replacement.

  • Harry


    Tomcat – totally agree, a fourth option should(‘ve) be(en) taken. Not only for bridging the valley of death but four provides greater flexibility for operations.

    Re: modified F-100 (F-5000 I think its called) for the FF; bad idea, they are not an optimal design for ASW and a little unnecessary, being so big. They would also need to be heavily modified, so 3 x price for Australian-built vs MOTS purchase would see a another price inflation for modified F-5000 for the FFs. Just ridiculous.

    The FREMM or the Type-26 would be better able to accommodate the Australian CEAFAR when modified, which might be a precondition for the contract. Plus, they both have more hanger space for potentially 2 x flight, which is much more important for ASW whereas the F-100 just has space holds for 1 x help. FREMM is the better contender in my opinion, as the Type-26 is still just a design on paper atm.

  • Jasonp


    Harry – The F5000 can be spec’d with a dual hangar, so that’s not an issue – why we didn’t do it for the AWDs I’ll never know. Also, I’d be interested in what your source is that states FREMM or T26 is better suited to CEAFAR?

    T26 still has a long way to go before it reaches any kind of maturity, and is arguably the riskiest proposition for Sea 5000.

  • B. Harrison


    I find it difficult to understand why the government does not take up the option on the 4th AWD. It would ensure continuity with naval shipbuilding, alleviate the hurried construction of the new frigates and of course allow a more flexible and potent navy. The ASC ultimately did a great job after the earlier setbacks and the shake down trials appear to be more than successful. She is a beautiful ship and “Hobart”, “Brisbane”, “Perth” and “Sydney” would be a great addition to our navy.

  • Mick181


    R Harrison that option is long gone fhe capability to build another Hobart is no longer in place, you would have to restart the entire build program.

  • Mick181


    And FFH-157 Perth (Anzac class) is a beutiful ship at present. Next name of the cab will be Newcastle.

  • MikeofPerth


    B.Harrison I understand that there will still be continuous shipbuilding in Adelaide as it is planned that the first two OPVs will be built in that shipyard before construction of that class is shifted to Henderson, WA and at that time construction of the new frigates will start.

    Under the continuous shipbuilding plan there is supposed to always be a major surface combatant and a submarine under construction in Adelaide and a minor vessel always under construction in Henderson.

    As for the selection of the future frigate design. If the Spanish F100 design is selected would that not make it easier to either convert one of the 9 frigates to an AWD or just order an additional AWD further down the track since the two classes of ship are so similar? Would the RAN also benefit in reduced running costs from adopting a vessel that is from the same family as the AWD?

  • Paul


    Shipbuilding here in OZ, at what cost? The government appears to be making sure we build here just for another 3000 votes. Like I said buy of the shelf for at least a 3rd of the cost, and put that money back into recruiting, exercises etc. Yes it’s a beautiful ship , no doubt about it, but why spend extra billions of dollars when there is no need to.

  • Harry


    Jason – w/ sources as requested. First casually at a glance the look of the superstructure of the AWD doesn’t seem suitable for ASW and CEAFAR. CEAFAR is likely mandatory and lends towards the FREMM or the T-26 (but as we said T-26 is risky).

    The AWDs are not designed for ASW structurally, esp. w/ performance. Running quiet is critical for ASW and I am not sure whether the AWD are optimised for that. See ASPI articles below:

    “{T}he future frigates are to be optimised with anti-submarine warfare in mind—which the Hobarts were not, although they are multi-role vessels. As such, the changes required to meet these new requirements will ‘exceed the modifications to Navantia’s original design required to produce the Hobart-class’, making it a challenge for the Royal Australian Navy to produce a design and the required production engineering in time to benefit from continuity in the yards.” (That’s a lot of money, time and modifications.)

    And, “{l}et’s start with some basics. The seakeeping and stability of the 5,000+ tonne DDGs depends on a number of design factors, not least the distribution of weight in the superstructure and masts. Swapping out many of those systems for new ones isn’t as simple as it sounds. Additionally, the new frigates are intended to be ASW specialists, and will presumably need two helicopters and their associated hangars and support facilities. I’d guess that some of the real estate required will come at the expense of existing DDG systems—maybe the frigates won’t have the full 48-cell vertical launch system? (Though more firepower is always useful.) So a fair proportion of the ship above the waterline will be new…

    “{T}hey won’t be small changes; they’ll exceed the modifications to Navantia’s original design required to produce the Hobart class… ( That’s a lot of money, time and modifications.)

    If they want to buy more AWDs for commonality, don’t use CEAFAR but AEGIS and go down the route of the US by using only destroyers, then optimise those destroyers also for BMD. Alas, BUT we need to do ASW also so use ASW corvette’s: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/sea-5000-less-risk-capability/

  • Kim


    Never seen so many acronyms!
    Saw this beautiful ship last March doing sea trials of Pt Noarlunga (SA). I think the old D39 is a diving wreck off Carickalinga (SA) beach. No wonder we have so many sharks in this area.

  • Darren


    In short it would have made sense to build the fourth DDG/AWD. Sadly that option has been missed. While the ASW FF’s need to be optimised for the role i would caution against a smaller ship. A larger platform lends itself to adding more or heavier systems with greater ease.

    But across the board our armed forces have some fantastic kit in service or coming online. And the best people in the world to opperate it all.

  • Paul Hogan


    The Royal Norwegian Navy’s Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates are based on the Álvaro de Bazán-class frigates (the same as the Hobart class AWD’s are) and have a primary focus on anti-submarine warfare (ASW), so I don’t see any reason a ASW version can’t be produced for Australia.

  • Harry


    Paul – I do see a problem. The ridtjof Nansen-class frigates only have space for 1 helicopter. ASW relies a lot on ASW-capable air assets and a design which has capacity and embarks two helicopters. But if Jason is right and a newer F-5000 frigate version does have a re-design for two air assets, then maybe it would be ok.

    The propulsion system, inc engines etc, would potentially need to be replaced with a system optimised for ASW (i.e quiet efficient running). The superstructure and internal bays would need to be redesigned for ASW, CEAFAR and larger hangers. And appropriately balanced.

    Thus, I do have a concern at the price of such ships. Modifying the AWDs, which cost us 2-3 x the price of the originals to build in Australia, for a frigate version based on a design thats only on paper (even though its just an extensive modification) is or could be nearly as risky as going with the paper design of the Type-26. (Plus I am not sure that the companies that built the AWD here, whose facilities might be packed down with the closure of some yards in VIC, would be involved…?) So, if that was the case, they would be some damn expensive Frigates. So far I haven’t heard anything damning about the FREMMs.

    Is it just a commonality of superstructure that lends towards support for the F-5000? Will savings really be achieved in construction? The links above I posted question whether that would be the case.

  • John N



    I really don’t understand where you are coming from with your comments and assessment regarding the suitability (or not) of the Navantia design.

    Firstly you made a comment that it was ‘too big’, how?? All three competing designs, Spanish F5000 (modified AWD, modified F105), UK Type 26 and Italian FREMM are all in the 6000t-7000t range in their ‘base’ designs. They are all basically the same size ships.

    You also say that the Navantia design has to be ‘heavily modified’, well guess what? Not one of the ‘base’ designs is ‘exactly’ what is required, they all have to be modified, some more and some less.

    None of the ‘base’ designs have CEAFAR, all have to be modified from their existing design, Navantia has already produced a model of what their F5000 offering will look like, see below:


    Please explain to me how exactly FREMM and T26 would be ‘better to accommodate’ CAEFAR? how?

    The Navantia design will have two hangars (no big deal). Their design will have ‘exactly’ the same weapons systems as the AWD, including the 48 strike length Mk41 VLS system.

    There are question marks over the VLS capacity on the other two designs, T26 is reported to be ‘designed’ with 24 strike length Mk41 VLS (can it grow beyond that??), the Italian FREMM does NOT currently have Mk41 strike length VLS in its ‘base’ design,

    The Italian FREMM has a 16 cell SYLVER VLS system with provision for another 16 cells.

    In regard to weapons and weapons systems, the Navantia design is ahead of the other two designs, the ‘base’ design includes all of the ‘US made’ weapons that are currently in the AWD’s, the other two designs don’t, especially the Italian FREMM design.

    In many respects the Spanish Navantia design has had a head start for a few years, people don’t remember that during the Abbott Government years, they invested about $80m on examining the ‘suitability’ of updating the AWD design with CEAFAR, and all the other ASW ‘specific’ modifications.

    People often say that the ‘base’ Spanish design is old, well it’s not as old as the US AB class Destroyers which are continually ‘evolved’ and continue to be produced.

    You also made the comment of ‘where and how’ they would be built, eg: “(Plus I am not sure that the companies that built the AWD here, whose facilities might be packed down with the closure of some yards in VIC, would be involved…?)”

    The AWD’s had the various ‘blocks’ for all three ships were made in SA, VIC and NSW, but they were/are being assembled at Techport in SA, which is exactly the facility where the nine Future Frigates are to be built (and all block work will be done in SA this time, not distributed around the country).

    The facilities in SA are not being ‘packed down’ as you said, in fact there is a significant expansion of the site, approx. $530m is being spent on expanding the site, see link below:


    I could go on, but the basic point is that all of the design need modification, yes some designs have an ‘older base’ than others, but whatever specific ASW ‘needs’ will be included in those designs delivered to the Government for consideration of who will be the winning design.

    As far as what I think should be the winning design, I’m not going to go there, I’ll leave that up to Government and Defence to decide, and it’s also up to the three contenders to deliver the appropriate design based on the Governments requirements.


    John N

  • Harry


    John – Wow, little bit of a long read there, no? And some of it was unnecessary… I’ll respond in kind. Maybe if you read my previous post, which was a response to Jason’s post question about my earlier one, you would understand that I was just stating my opinion that FREMM might be the best choice based on some sources I had read. If I was on a selection committee I would obviously have better info about them all, but I do appreciate getting the facts straight.

    So as far as facts go: First, never said they were too big!!! Second, admitted that if the F-5000 can do two hangers that’s a plus, but is it just a paper modification? Third, Re: fitting CEAFAR, I only quoted ASPI, which is what Jason requested to back up my source for preferring the FREMMs, so settle down there mate. Therein, I eluded that each would need to fit CEAFAR in their proposal, of course. This brings me to modifications in general. I am pretty sure that the FREMMs would accommodate Mk41 VLS canisters just like the others for any proposal, just like they would all require CEAFAR. Just as you said they would all need to be modified, which I agree with of course (especially considering defence seem to like to modify just about every large asset).

    And by the way, I never said SA would be packed down, just the VIC yards that did a lot of work on them. I also added many caveats such as ‘maybe’, ‘I am unsure’ and used question marks liberally. Thus, finally, I have a real problem when people use straw man arguments to question points, it does make one sound intelligent, but I sometimes it comes across as condescending and arrogant. Moreover, your arguing points that (most) I agree with but you don’t seem to recognise it. This can be frustrating because it seems like your not reading what I’ve written, Anyway I am just voicing an opinion and concerns about costs? After all the build of the AWD was a bit of an expensive stuff up. You might think the Navantia has a lead, despite not wanting to speculate, but I don’t. Many people thought the Japanese subs had the lead, or the Germans, but Defence ended up going with the French version. It is unknown what they will choose of course. I would like the best chosen, whichever it is.

    And seriously, Is it just a commonality of superstructure that lends towards support for the F-5000? Will the potential for savings really be achieved in construction?

  • John N


    Hi Harry,

    You appear to be offended in some way with my post, was certainly not intended, anyway….

    In regard to the size of the ships, and to quote you: “Re: modified F-100 (F-5000 I think its called) for the FF; bad idea, they are not an optimal design for ASW and a little unnecessary, being so big.”

    Actually you said ‘being so big’ not ‘too big’, but it means the same doesn’t it? That’s how I read it.

    As far as the 1 vs 2 hangar situation, yes the base AWD only has 1 hangar, it could have been redesigned, but wasn’t, the F5000 offering will have two, so that box is ticked.

    The big problem for all of us armchair Admirals is that there is very little in the public domain in the way of specific detail as to what the Government and RAN require, simply put, the details of the RFT has not been released. Which basically means we are all making a guess as to which of the three ‘base’ designs best fits the requirement, and if anyone who does comment and knows the details of the RFT, they wouldn’t be making a comment with specific details (not a good move!).

    Which brings us back to our various opinions of the three contenders, none of us are comparing ‘apples with apples’, yes we can all see what each of the three ‘base’ design does, or doesn’t, include, but we are all guessing as to the ‘specific’ RAN requirements, hence why I’m not prepared to rule one in or out over the other designs.

    And also why I question when someone says that ship A is better than ship B or C, none of us are equipped to make that sort of judgement call, hence why I won’t.

    Hopefully when the Government does announce the winner, we actually get to see details of the three competing designs, and also the details of the RFT too, then we can certainly start to compare apples with apples and make a more informed comment of the suitability of the winner.

    Bottom line is, that the three remaining contenders (out of an original field of five contenders), no doubt have something to offer, hence why they were short listed and have progressed to this stage. It is now up to the three remaining contenders to provide a design that will meet or exceed the RAN’s requirements.

    One last point regarding cost, yes the AWD project has gone over budget, no doubt about that at all, but there were also a lot of other contributing factors (regardless of the winning design), basically a whole new shipyard had to be built, a new workforce, there were issues with the management structure (that is a story in itself), but at the end of the day, ship 2 will be significantly cheaper than ship 1, ship 3 cheaper still.

    A lot of mistakes were made, a lot of lessons learnt, one of those lessons is that ‘block’ construction will happen at the one location and not be distributed around the country (too bad for VIC and NSW, I’m in NSW and not overly happy), but concentrating the whole block and consolidation process in the one location will bring significantly more efficiencies and cost reductions, especially over a production run of nine ships too.

    Anyway, just my opinion of course.


    John N

  • Dan Bell


    What a lot of people fail to realise with purchasing a completed product from an oversea’s vendor, is while the ‘price’ per unit may be less, the ‘cost’ can easily be more.

    When a product is manufactured in Australia, by Australian workers, using a high percentage of Australian raw materials, Australia gets a cut in the form of taxes, from each of those steps. Tax on the sale of the raw materials, Payroll and Income taxes from the workers (both the ship builders, and the raw material suppliers, etc), then Australia gets taxes from the company building the ships (assuming they’re not just shipping profits offshore – which is another debate).

    But then there is also the skills involved, which are incredibly hard to put a price from – from the specialist welders, to engineering services… Skills that can be applied to not just this one project.

    Then the is the eco-system around the projects – housing to house the workers, and ‘service’ industries (everything from the super market, to the petrol station, to the shopping centre, and the pub, and the cinema) both evolve from the project… And guess what? They all pay taxes and tarriffs and feed into other industries (ie, the raw materials supplier can also supply the mining plant manufacturer down the road, and may even be able to supply them for cheaper, due to the fact they’re moving more product)…

    And those other industries and services, create more jobs… Mr Shipbuilder works on the ships obviously, but Mrs Shipbuilder has a part time job in the supermarket. Their son goes to school (which employs teachers), while their daughter who is studying at Uni, also works part time at the Cinema (because Uni isnt cheap these days)…

    So if you’re actually going to blast either/both the ADF or Governments (LNP and Labor) for trying to get ‘local offsets’ in the form of production/construction, in Australia, then you better also go and understand that ‘unit price’ does not equal ‘cost’, and even when ‘unit price’ exceeds ‘cost’, you’re still ahead when you scope in all the skills that have been gained and the whole eco-system around the projects.

  • John N


    Dan Bell – Agree.

    Each of those dollars spent locally passes through many hands, and are passed on again locally many times over, and of course are taxed many times over too.

    Building locally is also is always going to add a ‘premium’ to the base program cost had the ship (for example), been built in an overseas shipyard, every dollar sent overseas stays overseas.

    But that is not to say that the premium added for local construction should be a ridiculously high premium, we should also be as efficient as possible.

    With the significant infrastructure investments being planned, or in progress, for the yards in SA and WA, tied together with the Governments Continuous Shipbuilding Program, hopefully we will avoid the boom and bust cycle of the past.


    John N

  • James


    – Mick181
    The next potential name available would be Darwin as she is the next FFG to be decommissioned.

  • John N



    Yes I’d imagine that the names of the three remaining FFG’s, Darwin, Melbourne and Newcastle could be reused for the Future Frigates.

    But there are a number of other names that are probably due to used again, the Daring Class Destroyers, Voyager, Vendetta and Vampire come to mind, the N Class and Q Class Destroyers of WWII, one of the Tribal Class names not in use is Bataan, three of the Type 12 Frigates names are currently also not in use, Derwent, Swan and Torrens.

    Plenty of historical names to choose from, that’s for sure!!

    And talking of names, I would have much preferred for the two LHD’s to be named Australia and Canberra, would have been appropriate, as that would have followed the naming convention of the two Kent Class Heavy Cruisers of the same names. I think Adelaide would have been more appropriate as a Frigate or Destroyer name.

    Anyway, maybe the name HMAS Australia is waiting for when we take over one of the UK’s QE II Class Aircraft Carriers (ha ha! only joking, that’s never going to happen!).


    John N

  • Mick181


    James & John.
    The only certainty with the Frigate names i can see is that Melbourne will be used, Melbourne is a traditional name for a major fleet unit and it will be the Hobart replacements before it could be used again if not one of the Frigates.
    I would name the OPVs the River class and the Frigates with City names. The other names that must be due to be announced soon are the AORs, will they go with traditional Auxiliary names such as Stalwart, Supply, Westralia, Manoora, Kanimbla or something different. I would like to see Coral Sea & Tobruk personally.

  • ESLowe


    It would seem that building the fourth ship is most necessary for retaining the skilled workforce in ship building; more even than the requirements of the navy itself. Sacking people and then having to rehire them a few years later…if you can find them, seems inefficient – let alone the failure to establish an apprenticeship scheme.In the downtime workers do not keep the experience learned on the job, or keep abreast of the latest methods. Also the teamwork in ship building would be impaired. Look at the mess the english made Tyneside in trying to build those Bay Class ships. They managed one of the pair they were assigned,but made such a stuff up the second had to be towed to Scotland to be finished on the Clyde. Oh! And, guess which one they sold to Australia?

  • Paul


    ES Lowe , I agree with what you say but the problem here is unions and political obstacles. Just build them overseas to save money and get them into the water ASAP! Cheers.

  • Paul_H


    With the Prime Minister expected today to announce that the Future Frigates will have a missile defence role, does suggest that a version of the Hobart class, with enhanced ASW capability, may be best?

  • John N



    The possibility of a 4th AWD is long gone, that ship sailed long ago (no pun intended).

    The option for the 4th ship expired during the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd Government years, and even ‘if’ the current Government made an announcement today that it was ordering a 4th ship, it’s just not practical or feasible. A lot of the systems that went into the first three AWD’s are not in production, to produce ‘one offs’ for a 4th ship would be ridiculously expensive, and possibly take many years to procure too.

    But what would be the point to start that process today? The first of the Future Frigates is going to start construction in 2020 anyway, and size of the Future Frigate fleet is being increase from the original planned eight to nine (makes up for the ‘missing’ 4th AWD).

    And also with today’s announcement by the Government that the Future Frigates will be equipped with the same AEGIS combat system as is in the AWD’s (yes the radar will be different between the two classes, SPY-1 in the AWD’s and CEAFAR2 in the Future Frigates), they will have a significant AAW capability too.

    And as far as retaining the skilled workforce, between the end of the AWD’s and the Future Frigates, yes it would have been better if the 4th AWD had been ordered back when Rudd and Gillard were in Government, but it didn’t happen, not trying to be too political, but it does fall at both of their feet.

    At the least the current Government has a work around, at the end of the AWD’s, the workforce at Techport will transition to building the first two of the OPV’s (cutting steel in 2018) and then start on the first of the Future Frigates in 2020.

    If you think there is a better way, I’d be happy to hear it, so at least there is a continuity of work and employment for the workers at Techport well into the future.

    Hopefully future Governments will continue the ‘continuous shipbuilding program’ commitment, major fleet units (and submarines) in SA and minor fleet units in WA.


    John N

  • Harry


    Literally spoke too soon. Having a look back over the requirements of a FF w/ a SM-2 and considering this weekends statements that the FF will have both Aegis and CEAFAR, I think that the F5000s now appear the strongest contender. They will essentially be more capable than the AWDs, which is great of course as long as we don’t forget that they’re meant to be for ASW. If one was just talking about ASW I would still think the FREMMs were a stronger contender, but after the announcement I think we’ll have F5000s for our future destroyers now maybe.

  • Myles Dobinson


    Some Info on the F110 proposed for the Sea 5000.

    The design seems to be derived of that of the frigates F-101 Álvaro de Bazán and F-300 Fridtjof Nansen. It would have as elements of stabilization of the platform, balance keels and fins stabilizers. The frigates will be between 4,500 and 5,000 tons displacement. What puts them in size above the F-80 and below the F-100.

    For the propuision different combinations were studied with gas turbines and diesel. A hybrid plant of the type CODELAG (COmbined Diesel-ELectric And Gas) gas turbine with diesel engine and two electric motors would move two-axis propellers five blades and two rudders. There is that they can reach a maximum speed of 28 knots. keeping cruise 17 knots.

    The superstructure occupies two-thirds of the length of the ship, leaving free the bow area for the installation of armament and the stern, as usual, for the flight deck. The bridge extends over entire width of the hull and is reminiscent of the already mentioned classes. Each side of the hull would have two large openings for the assault craft stowage and loading container with complementary equipment to other missions. A striking novelty is the integrated mast with antennas and sensors of all detection systems, located on the bridge spanning the breadth of the ship. The integrated mast occupies all the breadth of the ship and its height is equal to or superior to that of the hull and superstructure.

    Is was expected that the sensors include Phased Array Radars [PAR] more advanced than the Aegis SPV-1 available in the F-100. The Navy believes that the Aegis are too expensive in the situation from a single supplier. Therefore, there are another way of solution. Thus was created a UTE (temporary Union of companies), formed by Indra and Navantia, with the aim of developing an air radar solid state and digital beam forming technology. The incorporation of a technology (Lockheed Martin or CEA) is probably the line to follow. If it is confirmed the interest of the Royal Australian Navy in these vessels, collaboration with the Australian company CEA, which has developed the CEAFAR (Active Phased Array Radar) and the CEAMOUNT (Active Phased Array llluminator) which can fit into the requirements of this class of frigates.

    Additionally, each ship will have a towed sonar for its outstanding mission-submarine warfare. At this point, the F-110 significantly exceed the F-100, considered one of the best frigates in the world in assets, and the best of Europe, but it only has to deal with submersibles. The new frigates will also be equipped to repel especially asymmetric threats, an area that until recently was hardly considered. In the drawings available there is situated in the bulb’s bow a bi-static or multi-static sonar. In the centre of the transom is a gate that may serve to accommodate any type of sound cable. Also on the transom there are openings for a system of deception of acoustic torpedoes. To half a boat length on the superstructure, between large portholes of the multi-mission spaces, other smaller openings can be possibly for ASW torpedo tubes.

    In relation to systems of weapons in the bow area there would be a 127 mm, 5 “/54 Mark 45, or more probably 5″/62, a MR 41 VLS launcher with 24 cells for Standard or Sea Sparrow type missiles, although it was the missile still to be determined. On the superstructure, between integrated mast and the exhaust stack and placed in a pit there might be two quadruple missile launchers, possibly Harpoon or a derivative of this. More towards the stern are observed on the sides two 25 mm guns operated away from the CIC. According to some sources expected that the modernization of half life (MLU – Mid Life Update) can make use of systems against ballistic missiles. In relation to aviation, the frigates will have a wide flight aft, deck with hangar for two medium helicopters and UAVS. These will be the first Navy ships designed specifically to operate standalone UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) take-off vertically to patrol tasks and combat, AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) for tasks in the fight against mines and UNV (Unmanned on Vehicle) for surveillance and fight against mines.

  • John N


    Myles Dobinson,

    F110 proposed for the SEA 5000? Sorry, but that is wrong.

    The Navantia proposal for SEA 5000 is known as the F5000, which is an evolution of the AWD’s which are an evolution of the F100/F105 design.

    The F110 design is intended to replace the Spanish Navy ‘Santa Maria’ class ships, which are based on the USN FFG-7 class frigates.

  • Paul


    And wait for it, 50 billion on subs??? Unbelievable!!

  • John N



    It’s not unbelievable, but you are exaggerating it a little bit too, the $50B is a budget allocation for the project, a budget allocation that covers the years 2018 to 2057 (that is a 30 year period!), and includes a lot more than ‘just’ the construction of 12 submarines.

    You know as well as I do that it very easy when a defence projects ‘sticker’ price is announced, every one jumps up and down and does ‘simple’ maths, eg, divide the total project cost by the number of pieces of equipment being procured, but it doesn’t work as simple as that.

    Here’s one for you, SEA 1654, the two new AOR’s being built in Spain for the RAN (delivery in 2019 and 2020), the budget allocation for this project is stated as being between $1B-$2B (which realistically means around $1.5B), covering from 2016 to 2023, but the ‘actual’ cost of the two ships construction is $646m.

    Here’s a link showing that too:


    The two ships themselves will be less than ‘half’ of the project cost / budget allocation.

    Regardless of where a piece of defence equipment is purchased from (local or overseas construction), there are always significant funds allocation for all the other things needed, spares, training, maintenance, sustainment, infrastructure upgrades, etc, etc, etc.

    Yes the ‘headline reads, $50B, the sky is falling! (Not!!)


    John N

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