Australia begins prototyping of Hunter-class frigates for Australian Navy

According to information published by the Australian Ministry of Defense on January 7, 2021, prototyping is underway at the Osborne shipyard in Adelaide in preparation for work to start on the Australian Navy's Hunter-class frigates.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of future Unter-class frigate for the Australian Navy. (Picture source Australia MoD)

Australian Defence's Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group's first assistant secretary ships Sheryl Lutz said five prototype blocks would be built in the prototyping phase to test the shipyard's production systems, develop the facilities and ensure the workforce was trained and ready to build the Hunter-class frigates.

“Nine of the world’s most advanced anti-submarine warfare frigates will be constructed in Australia and the prototyping phase marks the beginning of a decades-long program that will be the cornerstone of continuous naval shipbuilding in Australia,” Ms Lutz said.

“The Osborne shipyard is a world-leading shipyard, which will enable the Australian industry to do its job constructing this advanced fleet of frigates for the nation.

“Raising the capability of Australia’s shipbuilding industry is central to the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise as we continue to develop a truly sovereign maritime industrial base.” Ms Lutz said the prototyping phase of the Hunter-class frigate program would end in 2023.

“The actual construction phase of the Hunter program is scheduled to commence by the end of 2022, with prime contractor BAE Systems Maritime Australia, a subsidiary of BAE Systems, already supporting Australian jobs,” Ms Lutz said.

The future Hunter-class frigate will be required to operate independently or in a national or coalition task group and will conduct a range of missions, with a particular focus on anti-submarine warfare. They will have sufficient range and endurance to operate effectively throughout the Indo-Pacific and will be equipped with a range of offensive and self-protection systems.

The Future Hunter-class frigate will replace the eight Anzac-class frigates currently in service with the Australian Navy. the Anzac-class has played a critical role in the Australian defense and in supporting national strategic interests, having undertaken maritime operations in the region and across the globe since their introduction into service in 1996. The Anzac-class frigates will be maintained until the 2040's when the youngest ship, HMAS Perth, will have been in service for more than 35 years.

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