The UK’s Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, HMS Sutherland, has visited South Australia while on its seven-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific to strengthen defence ties and promote stability and security through combined naval operations and exercises.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne, who toured the Royal Navy frigate during its stop in Adelaide, said the visit is a demonstration of the UK’s commitment to Australia and the region.
"Australia and the UK are committed to peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and Sutherland’s visit continues the close co-operation between our two navies," Minister Pyne said.
"As we are developing a sovereign Australian naval shipbuilding industry it is crucial we seize opportunities like this to exchange expertise with other leading maritime states. As we embark on the $35 billion Future Frigate program to build nine anti-submarine warfare frigates in Australia, seeing the full capabilities of all nations helps inform the Australian Defence Force and our industry partners."
As part of her Australian tour, Sutherland has visited Fremantle and Adelaide, and will now proceed to Sydney for exercises with the Royal Australian Navy.
Sutherland is a Type 23 anti-submarine warfare frigate, an earlier version of the Type 26 being proposed by BAE Systems for Australia’s SEA 5000 Future Frigate program.
Last year, UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the visit of HMS Sutherland offers further opportunities for the Royal Navy and the RAN to collaborate.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
In August last year, both countries’ foreign and defence secretaries and ministers met at the ninth annual Australia-UK Ministerial talks, agreeing on further joint work on cyber, Commonwealth issues and modern slavery.
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While in Australia last year, 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.