UK, Australia agree to collaborate on new frigates
Australia and the UK have further strengthened their defence relationship by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate on building and delivering the next generation of frigates.
The MoU re-enforces both countries’ commitment to working together on delivering Type 26 and Hunter-class frigate programmes and maximising mutual opportunities.
As informed, a key aspect of the MOU is a pledge on information exchange to ensure shipbuilding best practice is shared and that both frigate programmes deliver advanced maritime capabilities to the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy.
The agreement also sets out a framework to enable both nations to utilise the T26 and Hunter programmes to create jobs and contribute to the growth of the UK and Australian economies, seeking to support small and medium-sized enterprises.
“The UK and Australia have always been natural allies. This agreement demonstrates this Government’s ongoing commitment to the Type 26 shipbuilding programme whilst supporting our Australian allies to design and build the Hunter class frigate,” UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace commented.
“As we look to the future of our respective navies, our shared continued cooperation will benefit our close alliance and support the industrial supply chain to grow each nation’s shipbuilding sectors.”
“There are currently seven Australian companies contracted for work on the UK’s Type 26 programmes and this agreement supports the close co-operation between UK and Australian industry,” Australian Minister for Defence, the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said.
“We are already seeing the benefits of cooperation on the two programmes, with Australian workers involved in the Type 26 build ready to come home and help build the Hunter-class frigates in South Australia.”
“The Australian Government is committed to delivering a continuous naval shipbuilding programme and the Hunter and Type 26 programmes provide a great opportunity to capitalise on our shared industrial capability with the UK,” Reynolds added.
Prototyping for the Hunter Class Frigate Programme will begin by the end of 2020.
The Hunter-class frigate is based on BAE Systems’ Type 26 frigate, one of the world’s most advanced anti-submarine warships. The new multi-mission frigate is designed to support anti-submarine warfare, air defence and general-purpose operations.
The Type 26 frigate programme consists of eight ships and is expected to sustain 1,700 jobs in Scotland and 4,000 jobs across the wider maritime supply chain until 2035.