Report: BAE Begins Construction of First Australian Hunter Frigate - M5 Dergi
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Report: BAE Begins Construction of First Australian Hunter Frigate

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BAE Systems has commenced construction of the Royal Australian Navy’s first Hunter-class heavy frigate as part of a $26-billion contract signed in 2018.

The program will build larger ships to replace the service’s Anzac warships introduced in the early 1990s.

The announcement was accompanied by a cutting ceremony of the initial steel to be used on the class’ first ship, officially beginning the shipbuilding initiative at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.

The first Hunter vessel is scheduled to reach operational capability by 2034, while the program’s entire construction phase is to run for 20 years.

Throughout the effort, the government will support approximately 3,000 direct jobs and an additional 5,000 indirect roles across the country’s supply chain.

Further opportunities will be available for highly skilled workers who construct the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines and upgrade the Collins-class diesel-electric submarines alongside the Hunter fleet in Osborne.

“The construction of the frigates locks in a pipeline of continuous naval shipbuilding in South Australia, delivering thousands of secure, well paid jobs for generations to come,” South Australia Premier Peter Malinauskas remarked.

“This delivery of frigates alongside SSN-AUKUS submarines puts South Australia front and centre in the most crucial of national endeavors.”

“It also represents a step change in our state’s economic complexity, which will help improve the standard of living for South Australians more broadly.”

The Hunter-Class Frigate

The Royal Australian Navy’s forthcoming Hunter frigate will measure 149.9 meters long (491 feet) and incorporate a 20.8-meter (68-foot) beam.

It will be powered by a combined diesel electric or gas engine for a speed of more than 27 knots (50 kilometers/31 miles per hour) and a range of 7,000 nautical miles (8,055 miles/12,960 kilometers).

The vessel’s design will accommodate over 200 personnel and a single aircraft the size of an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter.

The ship will be fitted with naval artillery and short-range guns, anti-ship missiles, vertical launch systems, close-in weapon systems, and decoy capabilities.

Once commissioned, the Hunter frigate will sail for anti-submarine, air, and surface warfare, surveillance and intelligence, humanitarian and disaster assistance, and maritime interdiction.

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