BAE Systems Australia is leading the largest ever surface ship project in Australia’s defence history – the design and build of Hunter class frigates.
The Hunter Class Frigate Program is transforming Australia’s shipbuilding industry by supporting the building of a world-class, continuous naval shipbuilding capability for our nation.
It will create and sustain more than 5,000 jobs at BAE Systems and the wider Australian defence supply chain over the life of the program, including up to 1,000 apprentice and graduate roles.
In 2018, the Australian Government selected BAE Systems to deliver the Hunter program for the Royal Australian Navy. Prototyping is currently underway and making strong progress at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.
Steel in, ship out
Leading the shipbuilding revolution

About the Hunter class frigate

The Hunter class frigates are based on BAE Systems’ Type 26 Global Combat Ship design, currently being constructed in Glasgow, Scotland, for the United Kingdom's Royal Navy.
The frigates are being modified to meet the Royal Australian Navy’s operational requirements. These modifications include incorporating the leading-edge Australian CEA phased-array radar, the Aegis combat management system and the integration of the Seahawk Romeo Maritime Combat Helicopter.
Each warship will be constructed on an acoustically-quiet hull and feature unique sonar capabilities, modular digital design and open systems architecture to facilitate through-life support and upgrades as new technology develops.
The formidable fleet is being 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 aerial vehicle operation, and the flight deck is capable of landing a Chinook helicopter to transport land forces.


151.4 metres

Light ship weight approx 
8,200 tonnes

2 electric motors
1 gas turbine

Top speed
~27 knots

> 7,000 nautical miles 
in electric-motor drive

Combat systems
Aegis with Saab Australia interface

1 MH-60R helicopter
Mission bay for uncrewed system or additional helicopter

Approx 180 crew including embarked helicopter crew
with accommodation and services for up to 208

MU90 torpedoes
Mk45 Mod 4A 5” gun
Mk41 Vertical Launch System
SM2 & ESSM missiles
Nulka decoy system
Surface Ships Torpedo Defence system

CEAFAR2 radar
S2150 Hull Mounted Sonar
S2087 towed array and variable depth sonar
Electro-optical sensors
Electronic warfare systems

Growing Australian industry

Through the Hunter program, BAE Systems is committed to maximising opportunities for Australian industry.
Dozens of contracts have already been placed with Australian businesses to support the prototyping phase. Local companies are progressively being engaged to support the manufacture of the first batch of three Hunter class frigates.
But developing Australian Industry Capability is more than just spending money in Australia; it’s also about employing Australians, doing work in Australia, utilising and developing innovative technologies, building capability, and growing that capability further over time.

Commitment to support and develop Indigenous-owned businesses

Hunter is committed to supporting and developing 15 Indigenous-owned businesses over the life of the program.
Already the program has worked with a number of Indigenous-owned businesses, including Supply Nation, the Indigenous Defence and Infrastructure Consortium, TQCSI-Yaran, Murra Services (through their work with MG Engineering) and Career Centre Alliance.


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Read the latest updates from the Hunter Class Frigate Program including project milestones and contract announcements.
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