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First new warship passes sea trials off SA

AAP logoAAP 23/09/2016 Max Blenkin, Defence Correspondent

The first of three new air warfare destroyers for the navy, the Hobart, has passed builder sea trials after four days of testing off South Australia.

Having demonstrated its hull, propulsion system and navigation all work properly, Hobart will next undergo testing of its Aegis combat system, radar and communications systems early next year.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said this was a significant milestone and showed Australia's sovereign defence industry could build and integrate warships for the nation's specific defence needs.

""Hobart has now proven its hull, propulsion and navigation systems after several days of testing in local SA waters," he said in a statement.

The air warfare destroyers (AWDs) will be Australia's most advanced and expensive warships.

Their Lockheed Martin Aegis combat system and SPY-1D radar allows them to detect, track and shoot down multiple enemy aircraft hundreds of kilometres away.

But the project, now worth $9 billion, experienced problems and is running about three years late. Hobart will be delivered to the RAN in mid-2017, then becoming HMAS Hobart.

Vessel number two, the Brisbane, will be launched in December and delivered in 2018. Vessel number three, the Sydney, will be delivered in 2020.

AWD Alliance general manager Lloyd Beckett said the successful sea trials were the culmination of years of design and procurement, construction, outfitting, system testing, training and equipment activation.

" It gives me an enormous sense of pride in seeing our hard work culminate in a successful trial period at sea," he said in a statement.

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