The Royal Australian Navy has welcomed its newest Air Warfare Destroyer into the Fleet in the first commissioning of an Australian warship at sea since the Second World War. The ceremony, conducted off the coast of New South Wales on Monday, 18 May 2020, marked the moment the 147-metre long Air Warfare Destroyer HMAS Sydney (V) became one of Her Majesty’s Australian Ships. Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, and Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, were aboard the guided missile destroyer, to officially welcome Sydney into service. Vice Admiral Noonan told the commissioning crew that Sydney’s history was of a legendary pedigree.
During the ceremony the ship received a blessing and Sydney’s Commanding Officer, Commander Edward Seymour, read the ship’s commissioning order before the Australian White Ensign was hoisted, signifying completion of the commissioning. The crew also watched video messages of congratulations from Governor-General David Hurley, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds, and the ship’s sponsor, Mrs Judy Shalders. Sydney will now undergo her test and evaluation period where she will integrate into the fleet and Navy personnel will develop their proficiencies with her cutting-edge Aegis combat system.
HMAS Sydney (DDG 42), named after the city of Sydney, New South Wales, is the third and final ship of the Hobart-class air warfare destroyers used by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Although the designation “Air Warfare Destroyer” is used to describe ships dedicated to the defence of a naval force (plus assets ashore) from aircraft and missile attack, the planned Australian destroyers are expected to also operate in anti-surface, anti-submarine, and naval gunfire support roles. HMAS Sydney was laid down on 19 November 2015, and launched on 19 May 2018. The ship was delivered to Australian Department of Defence on 28 February 2020, after sea trials since September 2019. She commissioned at sea on 18 May 2020.