Australia gains approval to purchase long-lead Aegis equipment for Hunter and Hobart class vessels

Type 26 Global Combat Ship
The SEA 5000 Hunter class FFH will integrate the Agis combat management system with the CEA CEAFAR radar and a Saab 9LV interface. (BAE Systems)

The US State Department has cleared Australia to acquire long-lead equipment to equip its nine new SEA 5000 Hunter-class FFHs with the Lockheed Martin Aegis combat management system (CMS), and to upgrade the Aegis CMS on its three SEA 4000 Hobart class DDGs.

The potentially US$185m (A$250.1m) sale would see the Aegis system integrated with the Hunter class’s CEA CEAFAR radar through a Saab 9LV interface, while the Hobart class’ Aegis system will be upgraded to the new Baseline 9 configuration with Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) and the ability to conduct the ballistic missile defence mission if required.

The notification says the package includes various Aegis-related equipment, including Command Display System (CDS) Consoles; Multi-Mission Display (MMD) systems; Tactical Equivalent Core Computing System (CCS) Cabinets; Tactical Equivalent AEGIS LAN Interconnect System (ALIS) Cabinets; Tactical Equivalent AEGIS Conversion Equipment Group Input/Output (ACEG I/0) Cabinets; and Tactical Equivalent Advanced Storage Area Network (ASAN) Cabinets; Global Command and Control System – Maritime (GCCS-M).

Other equipment includes Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) sites systems; AN/SPQ-15 Converter/Receiver and /signal data converter equipment; Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DIVDS) cabinet; AN/SQQ-89 Sonobouy Processing Core Computing System racks; AEGIS simulator racks and workstations; AEGIS Training System; and various ancillary equipment and support products.

“This sale enhances Australia’s self-defense capability, while significantly improving interoperability with US Navy AEGIS combatants in the region,” a State Department notification reads. “By deploying a surface combatant fleet that will incorporate CEC, Australia will significantly improve network-centric warfare capability for US forces operating in the region.

“Designed by Australian company CEA, the CEAFAR radar is a modular phased array radar system already in use by the Royal Australian Navy. The goal of this equipment package is to get everything aligned between the radar and the Aegis weapon systems going on the new frigates.”