The detailed design of the RAN’s new Hunter class frigates being acquired under Project SEA 5000 has commenced following the formal acquisition of ASC Shipbuilding by BAE Systems Australia.
The design phase follows the signing of the head contract between the commonwealth and ASC Shipbuilding which provides the scope and framework for the detailed design and engineering work program required to allow prototyping to commence in 2020.
“I am delighted that we are embarking on the biggest surface ship project in the nation’s defence history,” BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Gabby Costigan said in a statement. “Being awarded this contract demonstrates the confidence the Australian Government has in the combined capability of our employees across BAE Systems Australia and our new team at ASC Shipbuilding.
In a separate statement, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said, “This is a fantastic day because we have delivered on our promise to sign this contract before the end of the year. The $35 billion program will provide the Navy with a world-class anti-submarine warfare capability, create thousands of jobs and contribute billions of dollars to the national economy.”
Steel is due to be cut on the first Hunter class vessel in 2022, for service entry in 2028.
The Hunter-class frigate mission will primarily involve anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, missile defense, surveillance and interdiction missions. The frigates will be outfitted with CEA Phased-Array Radar and the Aegis combat management system, according to the Royal Australian Navy.
An article published by USNI News added the following:
In June, BAE subsidiary ASC Shipbuilding signed a $26-billion contract to design and buildnine Hunter-class frigates based on the company’s Type 26 design. Steel for the first ship is expected to be cut in 2022. The Australians intend to commission the first Hunter-class frigates later in the 2020s.
The Hunter-class frigate has a displacement of about 9,700 tons full load and is 488-feet long, according to a Royal Australian Navy. They are set to replace the existing class of ANZAC frigates.
Meanwhile, BAE is building for the U.K. Royal Navy eight Type 26 frigates at the BAE shipyard in Glasgow, Scotland. These frigates will protect the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class of aircraft carrier, according to the Royal Navy. The Royal Canadian Navy is also considering the Type 26 design for its new frigate class.