BlueScope Steel Receives Contract to Supply Steel for Australian Hunter Class Frigate Program

BlueScope Steel AIS has signed a contract with ASC Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of BAE Systems Australia, to deliver more than 1500 tonnes of steel plate for the Royal Australian Navy Hunter-class frigate program.

The steel will be used to construct five-ship blocks in the prototyping phase of the program. The blocks will then test processes, systems, tools, and facilities prior to construction commencing on the first of nine frigates by the end of 2022.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds CSC said the prototyping phase is on schedule to begin this year.

“This latest contract signing demonstrates the progress being made on the Hunter Class Frigate Program, which will form the foundation of the Morrison Government’s $90 billion National Naval Shipbuilding Program,” Minister Reynolds said.

“Prototyping is an essential phase when building any complex warship, and will ensure employees at ASC Shipbuilding are thoroughly trained in using the state of the art digital equipment in one of the world’s most advanced shipyards at Osborne South in Adelaide. This first phase is key to the Hunter class program, which when complete will provide the Royal Australian Navy with a regionally superior anti-submarine warfare capability.”

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the Frigate Program is expected to create 4,000 Australian jobs, with over 1,100 Australian companies already pre-qualified to be part of the supply chain.

“This is all about Aussie jobs and creating a skilled Australian workforce to deliver nine frigates for our Navy,” Minister Price said. “It is important, now more than ever, to back Australian businesses and create more Australian jobs, that’s why we’re building Australian ships with Australian steel by Australian workers.”

RAN Hunter Class Frigate Program

The Royal Australian Navy’s Hunter Class guided-missile frigate (FFG) is based on BAE Systems’ Type 26 frigate, one of the world’s most advanced anti-submarine warships, which the company is currently constructing in Glasgow for the Royal Navy.

The RAN frigates will be built in Australia by ASC Shipbuilding at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.

Hunter-class frigate
Rendering of a Hunter-class frigate of the Royal Australian Navy.

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.

Incorporating the leading-edge Australian-developed CEA Phased-Array Radar and the U.S. 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 proudly carry the names of three major Australian regions, all with strong historical maritime and naval ties. HMA Ships Flinders (II) (SA region named for explorer Captain Matthew Flinders – first circumnavigation of Australia and identified it as a continent); Hunter (NSW region named for Vice-Admiral John Hunter – first fleet Captain and second Governor of NSW); and Tasman (state and sea named for explorer Abel Tasman – first known European explorer to reach Tasmania, New Zealand and Fiji). The class name was specifically chosen for the alternate interpretation of a ‘hunter’ personifying the role of the frigates as a submarine hunter, with the term embodying the pursuit of prey.

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

Characteristics:

+ Type: Frigate, Guided Missile (FFG)
+ Roles: Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW), Air Defence, Surface Warfare (ASuW), Surveillance & Intelligence, Interdiction, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)
+ Builder: BAE Systems/ASC Shipbuilding
+ Displacement: 8800 tonnes (full load)
+ Length: 149.9 meters
+ Beam: 20.8 meters
+ Propulsion: Combined Diesel Electric or Gas (CODLOG)
+ Speed: 27+ knots (top speed)
+ Range: 7000nm (electric motor drive)
+ Weapons: MU90 torpedos, Mk45 Mod 4 5″ gun, SM2 & ESSM missiles, Advanced anti-ship missiles, Mk41 Vertical Launch System, 2 x 30mm short-range gun, 2 x 20mm Close in Weapons System, and Nulka Decoy System
+ Aircraft: 1 x MH-60R helicopter
+ Ship company: 180 crew including embarked flight. Accommodation for up to 208.




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