Australia’s Hunter-class frigate program hits a milestone

BAE Systems’ Hunter Class Frigate Program has successfully completed its Preliminary Design Review (PDR). 

BAE Systems

The review, which started in July, is a technical assessment that ensures the design is operationally effective and underpins the more detailed work that will now be undertaken. 

“The Hunter Class Frigate Program has come a long way from initial head contract signing, to the acceptance of the shipyard, start of prototyping work, and commencement of the first Schedule Protection Block. The completion of the preliminary design review is another significant step forward for the program which is developing Australia’s sovereign industrial capability and is growing the nation’s engineering workforce,” BAE Systems Australia’s Managing Director Maritime, Craig Lockhart, said.

More than 1,800 people are now working on the Hunter program. Companies from across Australia are working with BAE Systems to support the manufacture of the first batch of three Hunter class frigates.

“Through this national endeavour, we are committed to maximising opportunities for Australian industry. More than 80 contracts have been placed with Australian businesses to support the program,” added Lockhart.

The expected time frame for the first of the Australian Navy’s Hunter-class frigates is 2031, aaccording to defence minister Richard Marles. BAE Systems received a £3.7 billion contract in 2017 for the construction of the first three vessels. Australia’s Hunter-class frigates are based on the design of the Royal Navy’s Type 26s.

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The Hunter-class ships will have a 8,800-tonne full load displacement and will be approximately 150 metres long.

They will be equipped with an advanced anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, a 24-cell strike length Mk 41 VLS for long-range strike weapons such as the Tomahawk, a vertical launch silo (VLS) for Sea Ceptor anti-air missiles, a 5-inch gun, and will be capable of landing a Chinook helicopter on its flight deck.