The SEA 4000 Air Warfare Destroyer Program will upgrade Australia's maritime defence capability with three state-of-the-art ships. The HOBART Class AWDs will be the most advanced and complex warships ever built in Australia and will introduce the Aegis combat system to the Royal Australian Navy. The first of these Air Warfare Destroyers will be delivered in late 2014. In June 2007 Prime the Commonwealth of Australia announced the selection of the Navantia designed F-100 as the next generation Air Warfare Destroyer for the Royal Australian Navy.
These large ships will be capable of detecting and engaging aircraft at extended ranges and protecting deployed forces from air and missile attack. This will ensure Australia's amphibious and support ships can operate with 24-hour air defence, as well as supporting land forces in coastal areas and aircraft operations. The air warfare destroyers will also have anti-submarine and anti-shipping capabilities.
"The Air Warfare Destroyers themselves will deliver an Area Air Warfare capability that will be able to provide air defence for other ADF assets including forces ashore and friendly aircraft, and against hostile aircraft and missiles over large areas. Once deployed to an area of operations the Air Warfare Destroyers will be available at all times and in all weather. The Government has identified the Aegis system as a proven technology able to react quickly to detect, classify, target and destroy a hostile air threat within the short warning times inherent in the high technology missiles and aircraft now coming into our region."
Excerpt from keynote speech given by Senator the Hon. Robert Hill, Minister for Defense, Defence + Industry Conference, Canberra, 21 July 2005.
The Australian Defence team is led by the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO). The USN and Lockheed Martin will deliver the Aegis Combat System and the MK. 41 Vertical Launching System, which form the core of the AWD's multi-mission capability; able to simultaneously detect, track and engage multiple air, surface and subsurface targets. Navantia of Spain will provide the F-100 ship design currently in service with the Spanish Navy, while ASC Shipbuilding will build the ships in Australia and Raytheon Australia is the Combat System System Engineer.