Suppliers sought for Australia’s Hunter-class frigate program

An illustration of the Hunter-class frigate

According to an article released by the Royal Australian Navy, ASC Shipbuilding has engaged with about 350 Australian suppliers despite the challenging circumstances imposed by COVID-19. A live webinar was held on May 22 by the business leaders and supply chain team, which provided an update on opportunities available with the Hunter Class Frigate Program.

The program aims to contract local businesses to supply material and services for the prototyping phase starting in December. During this phase, the processes, systems, tools, facilities and workforce competencies will be extensively tested and refined before construction begins on the first frigate in 2022.

ASC Shipbuilding Managing Director Craig Lockhart said the virtual engagement was productive.

“We were able to answer dozens of questions and the feedback has been tremendous,” Mr Lockhart said.

“It was beneficial involving the Commonwealth in this webinar to further demonstrate the genuine collaboration between the Australian Government and ASC Shipbuilding to deliver this program.”

ASC Shipbuilding Supply Chain Director Ross Hillman said he and his team were committed to supporting Australian businesses, particularly during the pandemic, and were excited to be in the position to start awarding contracts for the prototyping phase.

“We are planning to hold another webinar in the next six to eight weeks and we look forward to engaging again,” Mr Hillman said.

Hunter-class Frigates:

The Hunter Class FFGs will be built in Australia by ASC Shipbuilding at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.

The Hunter Class will provide the Australian Defence Force with the highest levels of lethality and deterrence our major surface combatants need in periods of global uncertainty. They will have the capability to conduct a variety of missions independently, or as part of a task group, with sufficient range and endurance to operate effectively throughout the region. The frigates will also have the flexibility to support non-warfare roles such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

hunter class infographic scaled - naval post- naval news and information
An inforgraphic of the Hunter-class frigate released by the Royal Australian Navy

Incorporating the leading edge Australian-developed CEA Phased-Array Radar and the US Navy’s Aegis combat management system, with an Australian interface developed by Saab Australia, the Hunter Class will be one of the most capable warships in the world.

The first three ships of the Hunter Class will carry the names of three major Australian regions, all with strong historical maritime and naval ties.

The Hunter Class will begin entering service in the late 2020s replacing the eight Anzac Class frigates, which have been in service since 1996.