Australia to Invest Big in Its Surface Fleet

The Australian Government announced a long-term investment of over $89 billion in ships and submarines for the Navy over the next 20 years.

According to a media release, this investment will generate significant economic growth and sustain several thousand Australian jobs over decades.

The Government will implement a continuous build of surface warships in Australia. This means that Australia’s shipbuilding workforce will build Navy’s Future Frigates and Offshore Patrol Vessels.

Australia announced that it is bringing forward the Future Frigate programme (SEA 5000) to replace the ANZAC class frigates. As part of this decision, the Government will confirm a continuous onshore build programme to commence in 2020 – three years earlier than scheduled under Labor’s Defence Capability Plan. The Future Frigates will be built in South Australia based on a Competitive Evaluation Process, which will begin in October 2015.

The Government is also bringing forward construction of Offshore Patrol Vessels (SEA 1180) to replace the Armidale class patrol boats by two years, with a continuous onshore build commencing in 2018 following a Competitive Evaluation Process.

In the short term these two measures will sustain around 1,000 jobs that would otherwise have been lost. Once both programmes ramp up they will guarantee around 2,500 Australian shipbuilding jobs for decades.

The third major pillar of the Government’s naval shipbuilding plan will be based on the outcomes of the Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP) for Australia’s future submarine.

Overseen by an independent panel of experts, the CEP will ensure that capability, cost, schedule, and key strategic considerations – along with Australian industry involvement – are carefully and methodically considered by the Department of Defence.

Image: Australian Defence