The Coming of the Air Warfare Destroyer to Australia: A Key Maritime Kill Web Building Block

June 3, 2020 GDPRGENERAL

Recently, the third and final Air Warfare destroyer, appropriately named HMAS Sydney was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy.

This was a very significant moment on many levels for Australia and for its allies in the Asia-Pacific region.

For this is not just about what a single Air Warfare destroyer capable of doing; it is about what it can do when operating as part of the broader maritime kill web, either to defend Australia out to its first island chain, or to contribute to a wider set of defense challenges in the region an beyond.

The Air Warfare destroyer is a key foundation for the new wave of Australian shipbuilding, one in which mission systems and integratable is a key requirement.

It is also about learning from that build process to set in motion a new approach, which I have highlighted in my report on the new build offshore patrol vessel.

In an article which I published in USNI Proceedings in 2012, I highlighted the coming of the kill web in my concept of the long reach of Aegis. The ADF in embracing the fifth-generation revolution and the opportunity to reshape the ADF along the lines of an integratable force, views the coming of the Air Warfare Destroyer not simply in terms of a powerful new platform for the Navy, but as a contribution to the integrated distributed force.

As RAAF Air Vice Marshal Chipman, now the Australian Military Representative to NATO and the European Union put it earlier in an interview:

“We need to have broad enough of a perspective so that we can drive programs towards joint outcomes.

“For example, it will be crucial to bring E-7, with F-35 and air warfare destroyers into a common decision-making space so that we can realise built in capabilities for integrated air and missile defense.”

“And that needs to be informed by shaping a common perspective with the USN and USAF as well.



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