Sydney home from US qualy trials

HMAS Sydney has returned to Garden Island, Sydney, following a four-and-a-half month deployment to the United States and Canada in which she qualified for operational duty.

FILE PHOTO: HMAS Sydney conducts manoeuvres off the South Coast of NSW in 2020. Photo by Peter Beeh.

While away, the crew of Navy’s third and final Hobart-class destroyer conducted combat system sea qualification trials, including weapons firings off the US west coast and integrated sonar suite trials, sailing from Nanoose Bay, Canada.

Sydney passed the tests and now joins her sister ships Hobart and Brisbane as being ready for operational deployment.

Commanding Officer Sydney Commander Andrew Hough said Navy’s Hobart-class destroyers provided significant combat capability to the joint force, be it in defending naval task groups, providing fire support to troops ashore, or coordinating air defence activities with the Air Force.

“Our deployment was the culmination of more than a decade of work by Navy in partnership with the Australian shipbuilding industry,” Commander Hough said.

“Despite the constraints of the pandemic, the crew achieved their mission while maintaining COVID-safe practices, with the support of their families back home.

“They demonstrated resilience and professionalism and showed that while the pandemic continues to shape our navy-to-navy interactions, we can still operate domestically, regionally and globally.

“It was an honour to lead such a dedicated crew and to return to our home port, knowing we have been part of the final check off for such a critical capability.”

Built in Adelaide by the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance, Hobart, Brisbane and Sydney are equipped with the Aegis combat system, which includes an advanced phased array radar and SM–2 missiles.

The Aegis provides the destroyers with advanced air defence systems capable of engaging aircraft and missiles.

Coupled with its surface and anti-submarine warfare capabilities, the destroyers have layered offensive and defensive systems to counter conventional and asymmetric threats in all spheres of naval warfare.

Sydney’s 174-strong crew is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Before arriving at Garden Island, all personnel completed a 14-day quarantine period at sea and all required pre-arrival COVID-19 tests.

Sydney’s crew will now enjoy some much-needed respite while the ship undergoes a post-deployment maintenance period.

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