SEA 5000 HMAS Hunter class Global Combat Ship
BAE System’s Global Combat Ship – Australia will be one of the most advanced anti-submarine warships in the world. The Hunter class FFGs replaces the current Anzac class destroyers. They will be built in Australia by ASC Shipbuilding at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia. The Hunter class will provide the Australian Defence Force with the highest levels of lethality and deterrence our major surface combatants need in periods of global uncertainty. They will have the capability to conduct a variety of missions independently, or as part of a task group, with sufficient range and endurance to operate effectively throughout the region. The frigates will also have the flexibility to support non-warfare roles such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The Future Frigates will be more capable than the Anzac Class frigates they will replace. Their primary mission is anti-submarine warfare, and they will have sufficient range and endurance to operate effectively throughout maritime South East Asia and will be able to be deployed globally.
Incorporating the leading edge Australian-developed CEA Phased-Array Radar and the US Navy’s Aegis combat management system, with an Australian interface developed by Saab Australia, the Hunter class will be one of the most capable warships in the world. The Hunter class will begin entering service in the late 2020s replacing the eight Anzac class frigates, which have been in service since 1996.
The first three ships of the Royal Australian Navy's Hunter-class frigates will be named HMAS Hunter, HMAS Flinders and HMAS Tasman. The first ship of each class bears the name of the class, as with the Adelaide class FFG’s with HMAS Adelaide being the first of that class when it was commissioned in 1981. Australia traditionally named ships and classes after cities, towns and rivers, along with a few animals, such as Bandicoot, Black Snake, Kookaburra, Mother Snake, Midge, Ibis, Koala and Taipan. More recently Australia moved to naval heroes, notably the Collins class submarines and the HMAS Choules. Hunter is a river flowing through Newcastle and the eponymous Hunter Valley in the mid north of NSW so that confluence of ideas may have lead to the class name.
Australia did not previously have a Hunter, it was one of the names proposed in World War II but never used. Flinders Island is one of 52 islands in the Furneaux Group dotted across Bass Strait, north-east of Tasmania. On 24 November 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman first sighted Van Deimen's Land, which is now Tasmania.
In a signal to all Navy personnel, Vice Admiral Barrett said class name was chosen to reflect the tradition of naming RAN ships that promote Navy’s bond with the Nation. In this case, the first three ships of the Hunter class will proudly carry the names of three major Australian regions, all with strong historical maritime and naval ties.
The first batch of three will be named HMA Ships Flinders (II) (SA region named for explorer Captain Matthew Flinders - first circumnavigation of Australia and identified it as a continent); Hunter (NSW region named for Vice-Admiral John Hunter – first fleet Captain and 2nd Governor of NSW); and Tasman (state and sea named for explorer Abel Tasman – first known European explorer to reach Tasmania, New Zealand and Fiji).
The class name was specifically chosen for the alternate interpretation of a ‘hunter’ personifying the role of the frigates as a submarine hunter, with the term embodying the pursuit of prey. "The replacement of our eight Anzac Class Frigates with nine frigates optimised for anti-submarine warfare…will significantly enhance the lethality of our surface combatant capabilities," CN said. "These ships will incorporate world class design factors and integrated systems…that will change the way we conduct anti-submarine warfare operations. Our interoperability as a joint force and with our allies will improve."
As a result of the construction and delivery drumbeat, the Anzac Class frigates currently in operation will be in service through to the early 2040s. CN said the future frigate announcement is a game changer for Navy, the ADF and defence industry. "Beyond the frigate design, this decision demonstrates that Navy is an intrinsic national capability that connects the private and public sectors to deliver a fundamental national objective – security above, on and under the sea."
The Future Frigate program is one of Australia’s most significant investments in military capability. It provides a unique opportunity to not just strengthen, but guarantee Australia's naval shipbuilding sovereignty. The next generation of frigates will be built by ASC Shipbuilding at the Osborne Naval Shipyard. ASC Shipbuilding, currently wholly owned by the Commonwealth, will become a subsidiary of BAE Systems during the build. This ensures BAE Systems is fully responsible and accountable for the delivery of the frigates and ensures the work will be carried out by Australian workers and create Australian jobs.
The Commonwealth of Australia will retain a sovereign share in ASC Shipbuilding while BAE manages the program. At the end of the program the Commonwealth will resume complete ownership of ASC Shipbuilding, thereby ensuring the retention in Australia of intellectual property, a highly skilled workforce and the associated equipment. By the conclusion of the frigate build, ASC Shipbuilding will be a strategic national asset capable of independently designing, developing and leading the construction of complex, large naval warships. This does not affect the Offshore Patrol Vessels, Air Warfare Destroyers, or the sustainment of the Collins Class submarines and will not preclude ASC Group from pursuing future shipbuilding opportunities.
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