BAE Systems has welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement of its selection as the preferred tenderer for the SEA 5000 program to deliver nine Future Frigates for the Royal Australian Navy. BAE Systems, which won the lucrative SEA 5000 project with its high-tech “Type 26” frigate offering, was competing against Fincantieri of Italy with its FREMM, and Navantia of Spain with an updated F100. The overall announced program is expected to be in the region of AUD $35bn for the design, build and support of the ships. Production on the ships will start in 2020 and they are expected to enter service in the late 2020s. BAE’s Hunter class ships will eventually replace the Anzac class frigates, which have been in service since 1996, to form the centrepiece of Australia’s future regional defence posture.
The Hunter class Global Combat Ship is based on BAE Systems’ Type 26 frigate, one of the world’s most advanced anti-submarine warships, which the Company is currently constructing in Glasgow for the Royal Navy. Once contracted, the new ships, to be called the Hunter class, will be built in South Australia by an Australian workforce, using Australian suppliers from every state and territory. The Type 26 Global Combat Ship will be a world-class anti-submarine warfare ship. Globally deployable, the flexible mission bay, aviation facilities and combat systems ensure it will be capable of undertaking a wide range of roles from high intensity warfare to humanitarian assistance, either operating independently or as part of a task group.
All variants will share a common acoustically quiet hull and will take full advantage of modular design and open systems architecture to facilitate through-life support and upgrades as new technology develops. This will ensure the Global Combat Ship remains relevant to future maritime demands and delivers an adaptable design with the ability to accommodate sub-systems to meet individual country needs. Hunter class frigates by the numbers:
- 150 metres in length, weighing 8,800 tonnes
- Two electric motors and one gas turbine to reach a top speed over 27 knots
- Weaponry includes MU90 torpedos, SM2 and ESSM missiles, Mk41 vertical launch system
- CEAFAR2 active phased-array radar and hull-mounted sonar
- Equipped with one MH60 Romeo helicopter and a mission bay for an unmanned system
- Accommodates 180 crew
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the new “Hunter class” global combat ships to be built by ASC shipbuilding at the company’s facility in Osborne, Adelaide this morning. BAE’s Hunter class ships will eventually replace the Anzac class frigates, which have been in service since 1996, to form the centrepiece of Australia’s future regional defence posture. The project is expected to create and sustain at least 5,000 highly skilled jobs, providing a significant contribution to the development of Australia’s continuous naval shipbuilding capability and a boost to the nation’s manufacturing industry. ASC Shipbuilding, which is government-owned, will become a subsidiary of BAE during the build. The company will soon commence negotiations with Australia’s Department of Defence on the initial design part of the contract, which is expected to be in place by the year end, with production expected to commence in 2020.