Australian Navy will introduce a new class of frigates in the next decade, under a program, known as ‘SEA 5000 Phase 1’. Facing the growing numbers of submarines in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, these new frigates are required, primarily, to increase the Australian Navy’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities. The new frigates are scheduled to enter service in the late-2020s.
Nine frigates will be built at a budget of A$35 billion, a fleet that will have sufficient range and endurance to operate effectively throughout maritime South East Asia and will be able to be deployed from forward bases, such as in the Middle East. The frigates will be equipped with a range of offensive and self-protection systems. The frigates will be built in Adelaide, South Australia and will incorporate the Australian-developed CEA Phased-Array Radar.
This project is one of a number of maritime projects to ensure Australia retains a sovereign capability to build and sustain its naval vessels and implement the Government’s commitment to a continuous build of naval surface ships in Australia.
Three suppliers have been shortlisted through the preliminary evaluation – BAE Systems with the Type 26 Frigate, Fincantieri with the FREMM Frigate, and Navantia with a redesigned F100 have been working with Defence since August 2015 to refine their designs. Of the three contenders, Navantia has already delivered two amphibious support ships – HMAS “Canberra” and HMAS “Adelaide”, and HMAS “Hobart”, the first of three Australian Air Warfare Destroyers (AWD) which is also based on the F100 design. Navantia also builds landing crafts for the Australian Navy. Following the selection of the supplier, construction of the new frigates will begin in 2020, in Adelaide, South Australia.
The nine Future Frigates are part of the Government’s A$89 billion national shipbuilding endeavor which would see Australia develop a strong and sustainable naval shipbuilding industry.