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An artist's impression of the light destroyer design as approved by the Government in August 1972 Class overview Builders: Williamstown Naval Dockyard (planned) Operators:  Royal Australian Navy (planned) Preceded by: Daring class destroyer and early River class destroyer escort Succeeded by: Adelaide class frigate Built: 1975–1984 (planned) In commission: 1980 (planned) Planned: 10 originally, later 3 Completed: 0 Cancelled: 3 General characteristics Type: Light destroyer Displacement: 4,200 tons Length: 425 feet (129.5 m) Beam: 48 feet (14.6 m) Propulsion: Two shafts each with one Rolls-Royce Olympus and one Rolls-Royce Tyne gas turbine[1] Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) Range: Up to 6,000 miles (9,700 km)[2] Complement: 210 Sensors and processing systems: Automated combat data system[1] Armament: One 5"/54 caliber Mark 45 gun[1] Six Harpoon missiles[1] Two double-barreled close-range guns One Mk 13 missile launcher and Standard anti-aircraft missiles Six anti-submarine torpedoes in two triple tube mounts Aircraft carried: Two helicopters Aviation facilities: Hangar and stern flight deck Notes: Ship characteristics from Gillett (1988), p. 68[3] The Australian light destroyer project aimed to build a class of small destroyers for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The project began in 1966 with the goal of developing simple light destroyers (DDL) to support patrol boat operations. The project was rescoped in 1969 when the Navy decided to use the ships to replace other destroyers as they retired, leading to an increase in the design's size and complexity. Concerns over the ships' cost and technological risk led the government to cancel the DDL project in 1973 on the RAN's advice, and a variant of the United States' Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate was procured instead. Contents 1 Requirement 2 Design 3 Cancellation 4 Notes 5 Bibliography Requirement From 1963 to 1966, RAN warships took part in the Indonesian Confrontation. During this period, Australian minesweepers and frigates patrolled Malaysia's coastline to counter Indonesian infiltration parties traveling in small craft. These ships also bombarded Indonesian positions in East Kalimantan near the border with Malaysia on several occasions. The RAN's experiences during this conflict led it to perceive a need for light destroyers and patrol boats tailored to confrontation-type tasks.[4] When the DDL project began in 1966, the ships' role was to support patrol boats during anti-infiltration operations and complement the Navy's existing destroyer force. The intenion was that the DDLs would be fast, simply armed and smaller than conventional destroyers.[5] It was also hoped that a common DDL hull design could be used to produce variants optimised for different roles.[6] The RAN and British Royal Navy (RN) held discussions in 1967 on jointly developing DDLs, but the RN withdrew from the project when the Australians insisted on arming the ships with United States-designed weapons.[3][5] The DDL design evolved during the late 1960s. During planning conducted in 1967 and 1968, it gradually became clear that the ships would replace rather than complement the Navy's three Daring class destroyers and four early River-class destroyer escorts.[3][5] Accordingly, it was specified in 1969 that the DDLs would be more capable and flexible than originally intended, allowing the RAN to maintain its capabilities as the older destroyers retired. The intended roles for the DDLs' were set in 1970 by an agreement between the RAN and Department of Defence, which specified that the ships were to be capable of destroying equivalent surface warships, carrying out maritime interdiction duties, and commanding groups of patrol boats and aircraft, have reasonable anti-aircraft and anti-submarine capabilities and be able to provide naval gunfire support to land forces.[5] The RAN originally intended to order up to ten DDLs.[3] All the DDLs were to be built in Australia so that local shipbuilding capabilities were maintained and Australian industry was to be involved to the greatest possible extent.[7] Production of the ships was to be evenly split between Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney and Williamstown Naval Dockyard in Melbourne.[8] Design The DDL design changed considerably over the life of the project. The initial specification was for a 1,000-ton escort vessel[9] and in an early design the class was to have a single five inch gun as its primary armament and carry a helicopter.[6] When the Navy Office later prepared an initial sketch design it was for a 2,100-ton ship with a length of 335 feet (102.1 m), a beam of 40 feet (12.2 m) and a 32-knot (59 km/h; 37 mph) maximum speed. These DDLs were to be armed with two five-inch guns and operate a single light helicopter.[10] After preparing its initial sketch design, the Navy contracted Yarrow Admiralty Research Division (Y-ARD) in July 1970 to complete preliminary designs for the DDLs. As an initial stage, Y-ARD was required to develop sketch designs for six different armament configurations using a common hull.[5] Requests for tender for studies on major sub-components were also issued in 1970, and these were completed by mid-1971.[11][12] The RAN conducted armament effectiveness studies of each of the six DDL variants in parallel with Y-ARD's development of the designs. These studies found that including an area air defence capability and an ability to operate two helicopters greatly improved the DDL's effectiveness. As a result, these features were included in the Navy's specification for the DDL design, which was issued in late 1970.[13] By this time the design had evolved to specify a general-purpose destroyer of 4,200 tons, armed with a five-inch gun and a Tartar missile launcher, and capable of operating two helicopters. The changes increased the cost of building the ships, and the number planned was reduced to three.[11] Nevertheless, the DDL design was considered likely to result in very capable ships, with the 1972–73 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships commenting favourably.[7][14] The changes to the DDL design reflected shifting requirements and poor project management by the Navy.[9] The development of an Australian-designed ship customised for Australian conditions caused naval officers to include requirements beyond those which were essential.[12] These changes were made without regard for costs, as the team developing the specifications were not responsible for the ships' final price and delivery schedule.[15] The Navy's failure to maintain control of the design requirements and make cost-performance trade-offs may have been due to its limited experience in overseeing the design of new warships.[12] Cancellation Type 42 Destroyer HMS Birmingham Despite the changes to the design and its growing costs, construction of three DDLs was approved by the Liberal Party McMahon Government in August 1972.[3][12] At this time, the total project cost was estimated at A$355 million.[16] All three ships were to be built at Williamstown Dockyard, with construction of the first ship beginning in 1975, followed by the other ships at two-yearly intervals.[9] The first DDL was to be commissioned in 1980, and the third in 1984.[3] Further DDLs may also have been ordered.[17] The DDL design was not supported by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) opposition, however, which believed that they were too large and expensive for escort, patrol and surveillance duties.[18] Increasing costs and concerns over the ships' design led to the cancellation of the DDL project. The Department of Defence observed that the DDL's costs were escalating and it was unable to finalise the design. The Navy reviewed the project and found that it was unduly expensive and a Joint Parliamentary committee concluded that a unique Australian design entailed significant technological risks.[19] As a result, the Navy recommended to the ALP Whitlam Government that the DDL project be cancelled, and this took place in August 1973.[12] The cost of the project to the Navy had been A$1.7 million, most of which was spent on design investigations and management consultancies.[20] The DDL project's problems harmed the Australian shipbuilding industry. The cancellation of both the DDLs and another project to develop a fast combat support ship design led to a perception that technical risks needed to be minimised when selecting new warships, and it was preferable to rely on proven foreign designs.[8][21] Australian industry was also left with a bad impression as companies involved in the project had devoted considerable resources to preparing tenders for the DDL.[22] The first Adelaide class frigate, HMAS Adelaide, in 1982 Despite cancelling the DDL project, the government endorsed the RAN's requirement for new destroyer-type warships and requested a review of existing foreign designs to find a replacement.[23] The two designs subsequently considered by the Navy were the United States' Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates and a variant of the British Type 42 destroyer armed with SM-1 surface to air missiles. The project team found that the Type 42 was the only design capable of meeting the Navy's requirement, and stated that the Oliver Hazard Perry design was "a second rate escort that falls short of the DDL requirements on virtually every respect". Despite this, there were serious concerns over whether it would be possible to fit SM-1 missiles to the Type 42, and this led the government to approve the purchase of two Oliver Hazard Perry ships from the United States in April 1974. The DDL project was reviewed again when the Liberal Fraser Government came into office, but a firm order for two Oliver Hazard Perry frigates was placed in February 1976, with a third ordered in late 1977.[23] Six of these frigates, which were designated the Adelaide class frigate, were eventually ordered, with the final two built in Australia at Williamstown.[24] Notes ^ a b c d Killen (1976), p. 34 ^ Loxton (1973), p. 21 ^ a b c d e f Gillett (1988), p. 68 ^ Cooper (2006), pp. 198–200 ^ a b c d e Loxton (1973), p. 17 ^ a b Cooper (2006), p. 200 ^ a b Schaetzel (1986), p. 16 ^ a b Jeremy (2006), p. 201 ^ a b c Jones (2006), p. 219. ^ Jeremy (2005), p. 176 ^ a b Jeremy (2005), p. 177 ^ a b c d e Earnshaw (1999), p. 90 ^ Loxton (1973), pp. 17–19 ^ Blackman (1972), p. 21 ^ Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee (2006), p. 43 ^ Willis (1972), p. 26 ^ Earnshaw (1999), p. 89 ^ Earnshaw (1999), p. 91 ^ Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee (2006), pp. 42–43 ^ "Effect on the Navy". Navy News (Royal Australian Navy): p. 2. 31 August 1973. Retrieved 22 March 2009.  ^ Jeremy (2005), p. 178 ^ Schaetzel (1986), p. 17 ^ a b Jones (2006), p. 220 ^ Jones (2006), p. 224 Bibliography Blackman, Raymond V.B. (editor) (1972). Jane's Fighting Ships 1972-73. Jane's Year Books. London: Sampson, Low, Marston & Co. ISBN 354001116.  Cooper, Alastair (2006). "1955–1972: The Era of Forward Defence". In Stevens, David. The Royal Australian Navy. A History (Paperback ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195555424.  Department of Defence (1972). "New Australian Naval Destroyer proposal - Decision 1051 and 1090(ADHOC)". Cabinet Submission 14 June 1972. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 22 March 2009.  Earnshaw, Paul (1999). "Shaping Naval Shipbuilding in Australia". In Cain, Frank. Arming the Nation. Canberra: Australian Defence Studies Centre. ISBN 0731704339.  Gillett, Ross (1988). Australian & New Zealand Warships Since 1946. Sydney: Child & Associates. ISBN 0867772190.  Jeremy, John (2005). Cockatoo Island: Sydney's Historic Dockyard. Sydney: UNSW Press. ISBN 0868408174.,M1.  Jeremy, John (2006). "Australian Shipbuilding and the Impact of the Second World War". In Stevens, David and Reeve, John. Navy and the Nation: The Influence of the Navy on Modern Australia. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1741142008.  Jones, Peter (2006). "1972–1983: Towards Self-Reliance". In Stevens, David. The Royal Australian Navy. A History (Paperback ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195555424.  Killen, James (1976). "Submission No 85 : Destroyer acquisition - Decision 240". Cabinet Submission 6 February 1976. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 22 March 2009.  Loxton, B.H. (1973). "Development of the DDL Concept". Royal Australian Navy. A Survey of Future Needs August 1972. Parliamentary Paper No. 138. Canberra: The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia.  Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee (2006). Blue water ships: consolidating past achievements. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. ISBN 0642717362.  Schaetzel, Stanley S. (1986). Local Development of Defence Hardware in Australia. The Strategic and Defence Studies Centre Working Paper No. 100. Canberra: Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. ISBN 0867848456.  Willis, G.J. (1973). "The DDL Project". Royal Australian Navy. A Survey of Future Needs August 1972. Parliamentary Paper No. 138. Canberra: The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia.