The Australian Government and ASC Shipbuilding signed the contract to deliver nine Hunter class frigates after BAE Systems acquired ASC Shipbuilding from the Australian Government in 2018. Work has already begun, with prototyping to commence in 2020 and construction of the first frigate due to get underway in 2022.
The Hunter program is the largest surface ship project in the nation’s defence history. It will create and sustain more than 5,000 jobs across BAE Systems and the wider Australian defence supply chain over the life of the program, including 1,000 apprentice and graduate roles. Opportunities will include jobs for engineers and project managers, specialists in steel work, mechanical, electrical and technical trades and many other professions.
The frigates will be built at the Osborne Naval Shipyard precinct in South Australia by an Australian workforce and provide Australia with a world-class, sustainable shipbuilding capability. The highly capable and versatile multi-mission frigates will support anti-submarine warfare, air defence and general-purpose operations anywhere on the world’s oceans.
What we do
Design and engineering
The Hunter class frigate incorporates years of investment in digital design techniques and is an evolution of the Type 26 frigate, which is currently being constructed in Glasgow, Scotland, for the United Kingdom's (UK) Royal Navy. It will incorporate the leading-edge Australian CEA phased-array radar and the Aegis combat management system with a Saab-designed interface built specifically for Australia. The Hunter class frigate will be one of the most advanced digitally-designed, anti-submarine warships in the world, providing world-class capability to the Australian Navy.
Ships will be constructed on acoustically-quiet hulls and feature unique sonar capabilities, modular digital design and open systems architecture to facilitate through-life support and upgrades as new technology develops. The frigate is the world’s first bow-to-stern digitally-designed, anti-submarine warfare warship. Teams across Australia and the UK are working closely to complete the design work necessary to tailor the Hunter frigate to the Royal Australian Navy’s operating requirements.
The Hunter has been designed for maximum versatility and flexibility in operational roles, from humanitarian and disaster relief operations to high-intensity warfare. The integrated mission bay and hangar is capable of supporting multiple helicopters, unmanned vehicles, boats, mission loads and disaster-relief stores. A launcher can be provided for fixed-wing unmanned operations, and the flight deck is capable of landing a Chinook helicopter to transport land forces.
Utilising a digital shipyard model and building on ASC Shipbuilding’s experience in constructing complex surface combatants for the Royal Australian Navy, the nine Hunter class frigates will be built at the state-of-the-art Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia using modern and world-class shipbuilding techniques.
Tradespeople from fabrication, electrical, mechanical and many other specialist roles will combine with engineering, estimators, project managers and suppliers from across Australia to bring the frigates to life.
A key part of mobilising the Hunter Class Frigate Program is to ensure lessons learnt are transferred from previous experience. Structured intellectual property and knowledge transfer is a key part of our contract with the Australian Government and the technology, knowledge and processes that will be transferred from the UK to Australia will act as a catalyst for economic growth.
As the Hunter program progresses, many Australian employees will travel to the UK on knowledge transfer secondments targeted at gaining detailed understanding, know-how and know-why on the Type 26 design, build, verification and test – giving our nation the tools, processes and data we need to secure our future.
Growing Australian industry
BAE Systems Australia and ASC Shipbuilding are committed to maximising opportunities for Australian industry through the Hunter Class Frigate Program. The growth of Australian industry and the development of a continuous naval shipbuilding enterprise are closely interconnected. More than 700 Australian companies from every state and territory have already pre-qualified to work on the Hunter program.
Increasing Australian capability raises the industry’s ability to compete for and win domestic and international maritime work. This increased demand will facilitate long-term investment and the development of a sustainable and competitive sovereign naval shipbuilding industry.