In June 2018, the Commonwealth government announced BAE Systems Australia as the successful tender for the $35 billion SEA 5000 Future Frigate program.
The nine Hunter class frigates will be based on the BAE Systems Type 26 Global Combat Ship currently under construction for the Royal Navy and will replace the eight Anzac class frigates when they enter service beginning in the late 2020s.
The Hunter class is billed as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) centric vessel delivering an advanced ASW capability to the Royal Australian Navy at a time when 50 percent of the world’s submarines will be operating in the Indo-Pacific region.
BAE Systems Australia announced that it had selected Lockheed Martin Australia and Saab Australia as combat systems integration industry partners, responsible for delivering the Australian designed CEAFAR 2 Active Phased Array Radar, Lockheed Martin designed Aegis combat management system and Saab Australia 9LV tactical interface.
Centred around the AN/SPY-1 radar, Aegis is a fully integrated combat management system, providing full 360- degree, 3D tracking capacity.
Aegis is capable of simultaneously defending against attack from land targets, submarines and surface ships while automatically protecting the fleet against aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
The $35 billion program sees ASC Shipbuilding become a subsidiary of BAE Systems throughout the build process beginning in 2020 at the Osborne Shipyard in South Australia, creating more than 4,000 jobs.
BAE Systems expects the Australian industry content (AIC) for the Hunter Class build will be 65-70 per cent, which will create and secure thousands of jobs for decades.
At the end of the program the Commonwealth will resume complete ownership of ASC Shipbuilding, thereby ensuring the retention in Australia of intellectual property, a highly skilled workforce and the associated equipment.
SEA 5000 is expected to support over 500 Australian businesses who have been pre-qualified to be part of the Hunter class supply chain, with the Australian steel industry in particular, benefitting from the 48,000 tonnes of steel required to build the ships