UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced HMS Sutherland will visit Australia in 2018, as part of the ship’s Asia-Pacific deployment.
During recent conversations with Defence Minister Marise Payne and Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, the Defence Secretary reaffirmed his commitment to strengthening the Australia-UK defence relationship and exploring opportunities for the armed forces to work together.
Secretary Williamson said the visit of HMS Sutherland, a Type 23 anti-submarine warfare frigate, offers further opportunities for the Royal Navy and the Australian Navy to collaborate.
“Though we may be currently battling against each other on the cricket field, when it comes to defence, we stand together with Australia as allies not opponents,” said Secretary Williamson.
“Our countries have fought alongside one another since the First World War and we continue to stand strong in the face of today’s intensifying global threats.
“I am pleased to announce that HMS Sutherland will set sail across the world next year and look forward to strengthening our close relationship with Australia.”
The ship will visit Sydney, Perth and Adelaide, and provides an outstanding opportunity for joint exercising
In August this year, both countries’ foreign and defence secretaries and ministers met at the ninth annual Australia-UK Ministerial talks (AUKMIN), agreeing on further joint work on cyber, Commonwealth issues and modern slavery.
While in the country earlier in the month, Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin announced the intention to look at the feasibility of fitting an Australian radar on future British warships. The ‘CEAFAR’ radar, developed by CEA Technologies, is already in service with the RAN and a capability study to fit the radar to British ships will begin early next year.