The Australian Government has awarded a contract to BAE Systems subsidiary ASC Shipbuilding for the Royal Australian Navy’s Hunter-class frigates.
The contract includes the design and construction of nine vessels and is part of Australia’s A$35bn ($25.29bn) SEA 5000 Hunter-class frigate programme.
BAE stated that the head contract signed with the government contains detailed scope for the design and engineering work necessary to facilitate the start of prototyping in 2020.
Construction of the first ship is expected to begin with a steel cutting ceremony in Adelaide in 2022.
Australia Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said: “BAE Systems, through ASC Shipbuilding, will establish a sovereign naval shipbuilding capability, which will enhance and strengthen our economy.
“BAE Systems will invest human resources, intellectual property, know-how and information technology in ASC Shipbuilding, creating over the life of the build programme a sovereign, world-class naval ship designer and builder.”
To be developed based on BAE Systems’ Type 26 frigate, the RAN’s Hunter-class frigates will replace the Anzac-class warships.
The Hunter programme is expected to create and sustain more than 5,000 jobs across BAE Systems and the wider Australian defence supply chain over its duration.
Australia Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said: “The A$35bn programme 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.”
BAE Systems has acquired ASC Shipbuilding after the latter structurally separated from shipbuilding company ASC.