WHEN NUSHIP Sydney cast off for her final period of builder’s sea trials in late September, it marked the first time all three Hobart-class destroyers had been at sea or deployed during the same week.
It was a significant milestone for the RAN and Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program, being able to support three AWDs at sea at the same time.
Spread across two weeks in the St Vincent Gulf, South Australia, Sydney’s trials comprised a comprehensive suite of tests designed to push the limit of the newly built platform.
While Sydney was being put through her paces, her sister ships were hard at work with the first of the threes built – HMAS Hobart – on the eve of departure for South-East Asia and HMAS Brisbane undergoing combat system testing while deployed to the southern California range areas.
The work of thousands of personnel in the Royal Australian Navy and the wider Air Warfare Destroyer program is culminating in the newest and most lethal warships in the Navy’s history reaching their final operational capability, which will be a major contribution towards outcomes one and two of the Chief of Navy’s Plan Pelorus.
For Chief Petty Officer Bradley Lynch, the trials have been particularly significant.
“Having had the opportunity to be a part of the project since 2015, and support the test and acceptance of Hobart and Brisbane, and now see Sydney commence her sea trial phase, has been a wonderful experience,” Chief Petty Officer Lynch said.
“The quality and performance of these platforms is an amazing achievement by all involved, and an important step towards a new sovereign naval shipbuilding industry in this country.”
Another experienced member, Lieutenant Inger Ellingsen, said it had been a humbling experience to be part of the team making Sydney ready for delivery and operational service.
“Being given the opportunity to work with the builders and the crew taking her through the trials is a once-in-a-career opportunity,” Lieutenant Ellingsen said.
Sydney officer of the watch Sub-Lieutenant Sam Fiez said, “I am excited to be a part of bringing Navy’s newest and most capable warship on line.”
With Sydney putting to sea for the first time, it was a great opportunity for some of her crew to gain first-hand experience of life aboard a AWD at sea.
Reflecting on her time aboard during Sydney’s trials, Seaman Stephanie Coleman said she was excited about what lay ahead.
“I’m looking forward to this opportunity to commission a warship as my first sea posting, especially with Sydney’s rich history and legacy, which is amazing,” Seaman Coleman said.
The Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance General Manager Paul Evans said getting Sydney to sea in such a collaborative way was a great achievement.
“Our highly skilled Air Warfare Destroyer workforce has taken Sydney to sea at the greatest level of completion, capability and quality of all three destroyers at this stage,” Mr Evans said.
Sydney will begin preparations for further trials this month.
She is due to commission in May.