Air Warfare Destroyer project: HMAS Hobart launched, SA Premier calls on Government to trust workers with next generation submarines

SA Premier Jay Weatherill has used the launch of the first Air Warfare Destroyer to push South Australia’s credentials to build the next generation of submarines.

The first of three ships being built as part of the Federal Government’s Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program, the HMAS Hobart, has been launched, with thousands of workers attending the milestone event at Techport in Adelaide.

The launch celebrates the transition of the Navy ship from hardstand to water.
HMAS Hobart specifications

146.7 metres in length
Top speed of more than 28 knots (52 kph)
Two diesel and two gas turbine engines, which can produce 36 megawatts of power
Can carry 180 crew members
Can accommodate up to 236 people in total
Flight deck and helicopter hangar for a Seahawk helicopter
Two inflatable boats

The ship will now spend a further 12 months in port while combat systems equipment are loaded and fitted onto the ship ahead of sea trials.

But the event has been overshadowed by a Federal Government audit released Friday revealing the total cost for the three new ships has now blown out to about $9 billion.

The audit into the status of the project revealed at least an additional $1.2 billion will be required to complete it and the ships are now expected to be completed more than two-and-a-half years behind schedule.

But the Government will not release the document for reasons of commercial confidence.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann described the extent of the cost and schedule overruns as “very disappointing”, and said the Government would now release a fresh tender for oversight of the project.

Show your faith in us and we will repay that trust.
SA Premier Jay Weatherill

Mr Weatherill criticised the Federal Government for its timing of the release of the report saying Senator Cormann “deliberately sabotaged the celebration of the launch”.

He used his speech at the launch as an opportunity to send another message to Canberra.

“I want our Federal Government to even trust South Australian, and indeed national workers, with the task of building our country’s future submarines right here at Techport,” he said.

“We have the talent, we have the facilities, we have the commitment to successfully build both ships and submarines here.

“Show your faith in us and we will repay that trust.”

The Federal Government has not committed to building the next generation of submarines in South Australia, although it was was promised during the election campaign.

During his speech at the event, Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said he was determined to get the project back on track and secure the future of the industry.

“We do not want to see this industry disappear.”

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