Australia awards BAE Systems first Hunter-class frigate contract

The Australian government announced on October 4 the signing of an interim contract with BAE Systems Australia for the Royal Australian Navy’s Hunter-class frigate program.

BAE Systems photo

The Advanced Work Arrangement (AWA) will cover ongoing work on the $35 billion program, ahead of agreeing the head contract.

Australian defense minister Christopher Pyne said the AWA is an important first step in the process of transitioning ASC Shipbuilding into BAE Systems in preparation for the nation’s biggest shipbuilding program.

“The AWA is an interim contract which enables BAE Systems to continue to mobilize its workforce and progress the critical work required to ensure the project remains on track to start production in 2020,” minister Pyne said.

“The process of transitioning ASC Shipbuilding into BAE Systems is well underway, and ASC Shipbuilding, BAE Systems and the Department of Finance are making good progress in negotiations.”

Work continues on negotiating the Head Contract for the program, with signature expected later in the year, after the ASC Shipbuilding transition is completed.

Defence will execute the Head Contract with ASC Shipbuilding – as a wholly owned subsidiary of BAE Systems – for the delivery of the navy’s nine Hunter-class frigates and associated support system components.

The project to build a total of nine Aegis-equipped frigates is worth an estimated A$35bn and will replace the existing fleet of Anzac-class frigates. BAE’s GCS design – on which the frigates will be based – is 149,9 meters long, displaces 6,900 tons and carries a 24-cell Mk41 vertical launch system. The Australian frigates will be fitted with CEAFAR 2 phased array radar and the Lockheed Martin-built AEGIS combat system.