The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Hunter-class frigate programme has successfully concluded a year-long system definition review (SDR).

SDR establishes the functional baseline of the Hunter-class frigate. It is the second major assessment of the vessel’s design.

The review assesses the major design changes, associated with the integration of the Australian Combat System, from the Global Combat Ship reference vessel.

It showcases how it accommodates numerous capabilities that are needed by the Australian Government.

The capability requirements include the Aegis and Australian Interface Combat Management Systems, the CEAFAR2 phased array radar, as well as the Seahawk Romeo Maritime Combat Helicopter integration.

BAE Systems’ engineering teams in Australia and the UK were involved in this review.

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Recently, BAE Systems handed over more than two million digital artefacts from the UK to Australia.

In addition, the first prototyping unit for the Hunter-class frigate programme has also been finished at the Osborne shipyard.

BAE Systems Maritime Australia managing director Craig Lockhart said: “The selection of the Global Combat Ship for Australia’s Hunter class frigates was based on its digital pedigree, its submarine-hunting capability and its ability to accommodate the changes the Australian customer requires.

“In complex naval shipbuilding terms, a successful systems definition review means that you’ve successfully established a functional baseline from which you can further develop and integrate the design against the mission system specification set by the customer, and we’ve done just that.”

The programme will now move on to preliminary design review (PDR) following the closure of actions identified in SDR.

PDR is a technical evaluation that ensures the design is ‘operationally effective’ and sets the pace for detailed design and planning phases.

In January 2021, BAE provided progress updated on the prototyping stage of the Hunter-class frigate programme at the Osborne shipyard.