Aegis combat system upgrade unlocks increased air and missile defence capability

September 1, 2020 – The Morrison Government is strengthening Australia’s national security with Navy’s Hobart Class destroyers set to undergo an Aegis combat system upgrade which will increase the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) air and missile defence capability.

The Hobart Class will also have an Australian developed interface installed to integrate the Aegis combat system with the rest of the ship’s systems.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the Hobart Class are the most capable and lethal warships Australia has ever built, increasing our interoperability with the United States and allowing us to work even closer with our allies and partners.

“As part of the Morrison Government’s $270 billion investment outlined in the 2020 Force Structure Plan, we recognise that advanced long‑range and hypersonic missiles and directed energy weapons require the ADF to continuously build robust air and missile defence capability options,” Minister Reynolds said.

“The Aegis combat system is the brain of Navy’s integrated air and missile defence capability. In the face of compressed timelines and to protect Australian forces, Defence requires the agility to sense, decide and take action against contemporary and future threats.”

“Recently at RIMPAC 2020, HMAS Hobart successfully conducted coordinated surface‑to‑air missile firing demonstrations using the current version of the Aegis combat system, demonstrating interoperability with the United States and our ability to field air missile defence capabilities.”

“The upgraded version of the Aegis combat system for the Hobart Class Destroyers will also be installed in the new Hunter Class frigates, providing Defence with world-leading technology while improving sovereign shipbuilding capability.”

As part of the Government’s enterprise approach, the Australian Interface will be designed and developed by Saab Australia, leveraging their combat management system experience gained across the rest of Navy’s surface fleet. The Australian Interface will also be common across both the Hobart and Hunter Classes.

The investment in upgrades will ensure our Navy is equipped and jointly networked to protect the nation from future air and missile threats, while growing jobs in key Australian combat system development and integration areas.

“By installing the latest Aegis combat system and developing the Australian Interface here in Australia, we are guaranteeing the development of a long‑term Australian combat management system capability,” Minister Reynolds said.

“This is not only a strategic Defence investment that will enhance the skills and grow a sustainable Australian combat system workforce that is over 200 strong over the next decade, but guarantees we have sovereign control of this key technology for our Navy fleet.”

Defence will commence industry and State engagement to inform Government consideration in 2021 on the shipyard location to deliver these upgrades.

Work in Australia to install the new Aegis combat system and Australian Interface in Navy’s destroyers and frigates is planned to commence in 2024.

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