The Government of Australia has launched a feasibility study to explore the locally manufactured main reduction gearboxes for the upcoming Hunter batches.

The latest move is expected to create more opportunities for the industry through its Hunter Class Frigate Program.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds stated that the study is set to establish the capability and suitability of gearboxes that are sourced locally in order to meet the strict technical needs of the programme.

Reynolds said: “The manufacture of an anti‑submarine frigate’s main gearbox must meet a very high standard in respect to shock resilience, noise and vibration, which has never been done before in Australia.

“As we grow Australian industry capacity and skills to support sovereign shipbuilding, this feasibility study demonstrates the Morrison government’s commitment to actively open new opportunities for Australian industry to grow its capacity to support the Hunter Class Frigate Program.”

Reynolds further added that the government does not underestimate the value of Australian industry as a fundamental input to capability.

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The industry is capable of producing the gearboxes in the country to enhance its sovereignty, she said.

ASC Shipbuilding will collaborate with Australian industry to build on the experience gained on the first three ships.

This will ensure that the Hunter Class Frigate Program adheres to the capabilities and technical needs.

The programme continues as planned and the ‘cut steel’ for prototyping is expected to commence at the end of this year.

In June this year, ASC Shipbuilding sought suppliers for the Australian Hunter Class Frigate Program.