Technology Today

2012 Issue 2

Australian Air Warfare Destroyer Combat Systems
The Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Program is charged with delivering an affordable, effective, flexible and sustainable air warfare destroyer capability for the security of Australia

Australian Air Warfare Destroyer Combat Systems <br />
The Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Program is charged with delivering an affordable, effective, flexible and sustainable air warfare destroyer capability for the security of Australia

Raytheon Australia, the AWD Combat System Mission Systems Integrator, is executing an innovative program to design, integrate and test the AWD Combat System, satisfying the Royal Australian Navy's demanding system requirements while working within crew, schedule and budget constraints. The 6,500 metric ton Hobart Class AWD is based on the Navantia Spanish F100 ship design (above). It is being developed and built by the AWD Alliance, with the Australian Government (represented by the Defence Materiel Organisation) as owner-participant, with ASC as the shipbuilder and with Raytheon Australia as the Mission Systems Integrator. The first ship is planned to enter service in the middle of the decade.

The AWD program was defined in the Australian Government's year 2000 Defence White Paper, which noted that the key to defending Australia is controlling the air and sea approaches to the Australian continent, denying access to hostile ships and aircraft, and providing maximum freedom of action for Australia's own forces. This paper announced the development of at least three new Hobart Class AWD ships to help reduce vulnerability of the fleet to air attack. Raytheon assisted in the analysis of the AWD missions (Figure 1), thereby defining key capabilities for the Hobart Class AWD Combat System.

Figure 1

The AWD Combat System provides strength in depth through interoperability with the Australian Defence Force and regional and deployed coalition forces, as well as interoperability with U.S. Navy assets as a tactical area air warfare unit within a U.S. Navy carrier battle group.

The Australian government mandated that the AWD's principal air warfare capability requirements must be met by the Aegis Weapon System in concert with Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM). Through selection of Aegis, the Combat System exploits the proven capability of the Aegis air and missile defense system, which has been deployed on more than 90 ships worldwide. Maintaining a baseline Aegis solution that is common with the U.S. Navy is pivotal to leveraging the opportunities presented by Aegis for performance upgrades and minimizing through-life costs.

Raytheon Australia, as the AWD Mission Systems Integrator, developed the overall combat system architecture and provides systems engineering resources to meet the demanding Hobart class system specification (HCSS) requirements.

Figure 2
System Architecture and Integration

Raytheon's combat system architecture design approach introduced the Australian Tactical Interface (ATI) to act as a gateway between other combat system components and Aegis. This architecture preserves the integrity of the existing Aegis fire control system while eliminating any changes to existing equipment interfaces. The approach dramatically reduces cost and integration risk and it allows Australia to exercise self determination over the selection and through-life support of non-Aegis equipment. Figure 2 shows the interconnection of the 35 major items of equipment.

The architecture is currently operational and supporting system integration. This includes the integration of the Hobart Class AWD Combat System equipment, integration of the combat system with the ship, and verification that the installed system solution meets the HCSS requirements.

To ensure success, the integration and test program is built around a set of key principles, including early integration and test activities using physical equipment and high-fidelity simulators, globally distributed integration, evaluation of all interfaces and the behavior of key functional threads, and a risk-based prioritization of all tasks. The Aegis Weapon System, the Australian Tactical Interface and its associated sensors and effectors, the Navigation Subsystem, and the Communications and Information Subsystem are currently in the integration phase.

Raytheon's responsibilities on the program extend beyond the AWD Combat System. Raytheon is also responsible for the development and operation of two key land-based components located in Sydney, Australia:

  • The Combat System Through-Life Support Facility initially enables AWD integration and test, and then transitions to an engineering support role.
  • The Hobart Class Command Team Trainer is a high-fidelity Combat Information Center simulator used to teach ships' command teams how to operate the ship's systems in the most effective way.

Challenges ahead include completing the combat system integration onto a ship, conducting sea trials, and verifying that the installed combat system meets HCSS requirements. The program is confident in its success because the integration and test strategy has been aligned from the outset with the program's architectural vision, principles and key features. The Hobart Class Combat System promises to be the most capable surface combatant ever to be put in operation by the Royal Australian Navy.

John R. Short, John P. Davis

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