BAE to build new Aust navy frigates

Clay Curtis
July 1, 2018

BAE Systems PLC (BAES.L) has won a A$35 billion (19.66 billion pounds) contest to deliver anti-submarine warfare frigates for the Australian navy, the Australian government said on Thursday. BAE Systems, will contribute its Type 26 Global Combat Ship design.

The prime minister raised the possible deal with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull at Chequers earlier this year, and its award follows four years of high-level talks between the two countries.

French naval contractor DCNS has been selected to design and build Australia's new submarines at a cost of Aus$50 billion in Adelaide, beating off competition from Japan and Germany. "It will be one of the major shipbuilding centres in the world and in the region", Turnbull said.

BAE beat Italian and Spanish rivals to win a large slice of the £20bn spending program.

The Australian government will however retain a share in the company and resume full ownership at the end of the program. "Obviously in some respects it makes the arrangements easier because the U.K and Australia are very close militarily", Pyne said.

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"The decision by the Australian Government confirms the United Kingdom leadership in advanced frigate design and the strengthening of ties at both the industrial and defence level between our two nations, British expertise helping to transform the Australian shipbuilding sector". The Australian government said the arrangement will ensure that BAE "is fully responsible and accountable for the delivery of the frigates" and that construction "will be carried out by Australian workers and create Australian jobs".

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said the project was a sign of a strong bilateral relationship.

Artist impression of the future Type 26 / GCS Australia / Hunter-class frigate of the Royal Australian Navy. UK-based trade union GMB have spoken against the agreement, where Gary Cook said: "The inconvenient truth is that we're not exporting ships, only manufacturing jobs that should be going to British shipbuilding communities".

As part of its commitment to developing Australia's sovereign shipbuilding capability, BAE Systems has prequalified over 500 Australian businesses from every state and territory to be in the Hunter Class supply chain.

The frigates are due to enter service in the late 2020s as the backbone of the Australian Navy's fleet, part of a massive shipbuilding programme that also includes 12 new submarines and 12 offshore patrol vessels.

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