September 5, 2011:
Things are not going well for the new Australian Hobart class “air warfare” destroyers (that can also handle anti-submarine and surface combat missions). Four years ago, Australia decided to buy three F100 type destroyers, modified for Australian needs, from a Spanish firm. The three Hobart class ships were to be built in Australia, and the first was to enter service in 2013. But there have been technical and supplier problems, and the first destroyer is not expected until 2016. Blame is being assigned to everyone for the screw-ups.
The original 6,000 ton F100 frigates had Aegis radar systems (controlling Standard and Sea Sparrow missiles), and 48 Mark-41 vertical launch cells for missiles. The ships also carried eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles, a 127mm gun, 12 anti-submarine torpedo tubes and a short-range anti-missile defense system. A helicopter is also carried. Each F-100 costs about a billion dollars. These ships entered service from 2002-2006. The F-100s can also be equipped to use the anti-missile version of the Standard anti-aircraft missile.
The Hobarts displace 6,200 tons and carry basically the same electronics and weapons as the F100. Crew size is 180 and top speed is 55 kilometers an hour. The Hobarts can stay at sea for 12 days before needing to refuel. The Hobarts will cost about $2.5 billion each.