The Australian Government has released the request for tender (RFT) for the $35bn SEA 5000 Future Frigate project to the three shortlisted designers, BAE Systems, Fincantieri and Navantia.
Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said that the new Future Frigate project is currently the world’s largest frigate shipbuilding programme.
Pyne said: “Today’s announcement shows the government is on track to begin construction of the Future Frigates in 2020 in Adelaide.
“The release of the RFT is an important part of the competitive evaluation process, which will lead to the government announcing the successful designer for the Future Frigates in 2018.”
Pyne noted that evaluation of responses to the Future Frigate RFT is expected to begin later this year.
The three designers have been working with the Australian Department of Defence to refine their designs since August 2015.
BAE Systems has been working with its Type 26 frigate, Fincantieri with its Frigate European Multi-Mission (FREMM) and Navantia with a redesigned F100 Álvaro de Bazán-class multi-role frigate as part of the Future Frigate programme.
Pyne added: “The three shortlisted designers must demonstrate and develop an Australian supply chain to support Australia's future shipbuilding industry, and also how they will leverage their local suppliers into global supply chains.
“The government is committed to maximising Australian industry opportunities, and participation and this project will contribute to building a sustainable Australian shipbuilding workforce.”
Future Frigates are due to be equipped with a wide range of offensive and self-protection systems, and will help conduct more challenging maritime warfare operations, as well as provide a greater impact on anti-submarine operations.
The project will include the delivery of nine frigates and is part of the Australian Government’s $89bn national shipbuilding programme, which aims to support the country's development of a strong and sustainable naval shipbuilding industry.