The Air Warfare Destroyer program

10 Nov 2014

This paper assesses the progress of SEA 4000—Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) from its inception at the start of the previous decade until August 2014. SEA 4000 is a program to build three guided missile destroyers (or DDGs to give them their hull classification symbol) for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). These three vessels, to be named HMAS Hobart, HMAS Brisbane and HMAS Sydney (collectively the Hobart Class), will be delivered to the RAN between 2016 and 2019 and will replace the four remaining Adelaide Class frigates which have been in service since the early 1980s and are due to be withdrawn from service by 2019. The current approved budget for this program is $7,849 million.

Executive summary

  • The Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program will deliver three Hobart Class AWDs and support systems to the Navy under an alliance-based contracting arrangement between ASC Pty Ltd, Raytheon Australia Pty Ltd and the Australian Government, represented by the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO).
  • The total approved budget for the AWD build is $7,849 million but the actual cost is likely to be greater.
  • The AWD program has suffered from various delays and cost increases and has been the subject of an independent review which has led to the Government approving plans for remediation of the project.
  • The current government has stated that the AWD build must be fixed before it can confidently approve further substantial military shipbuilding projects in Australia.
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