Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has tonight unveiled BAE Systems’ Type 26 Global Combat Ship as the design for Australia’s $35 billion Future Frigate program.
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The new frigates will be officially known as the Hunter Class, with the Royal Australian Navy to receive nine advanced guided missile frigates beginning in the late 2020s.
In one of Defence’s most hotly-contested competitions in years, BAE Systems with its Type 26, Navantia with an evolved Hobart Class/F-100, and Fincantieri with its FREMM frigate were all considered for the next-generation of Australia's surface fleet.
The new Hunter Class will mark a major increase in the future capability of the RAN and will combine the powerful Aegis combat system, the Australian designed CEAFAR 2 phased array radar and a suite of advanced anti-submarine sensors, allowing the ships to conduct a variety of missions, with sufficient range, endurance and world-leading combat capability throughout the projected life of the vessels.
It can also be revealed that ASC Shipbuilding will build the next generation of frigates at the Osborne Naval Shipyard.
ASC Shipbuilding, currently wholly owned by the Commonwealth, will become a subsidiary of BAE Systems during the build.
According to the Prime Minister, this will ensure BAE Systems is fully responsible and accountable for the delivery of the frigates and guarantee the work will be carried out by Australian workers and create Australian jobs.
As part of the government's $89 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan, BAE and it's winning design will be responsible for directly creating 4,000 jobs around the country while kickstarting the the nation's sustained sovereign shipbuilding capability once construction commences in 2020.
This concerted industrial effort will also provide further workforce and industry development opportunities in the lead-up to the rolling SEA 1000 Future Submarine procurement program, set to commence in Adelaide from 2022-23.
More to come.