BAE Systems Type 26 Frigate design was regarded as the frontrunner, with Fincantieri’s FREMM close behind and Navantia regarded as the lowest risk option.
Three companies were bidding: British defence giant BAE Systems, Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and Spanish shipbuilder Navantia. BAE’s design was touted as the offering with the best capability for anti-submarine warfare however.
The new frigates will replace the Anzac-class from the mid-2020s, in a project that will create more than 2000 jobs. Production is scheduled to start from 2020 at the federal government-owned shipyard in Osborne, South Australia.
Australian teams were recently visiting the first Type 26 Frigate, HMS Glasgow, in build.
This week we welcomed around 50 business leaders from Australia to our Glasgow shipyard to see progress of the first Type 26 Global Combat Ship which is under construction, and get an insight into our digital shipbuilding. #TYPE26 pic.twitter.com/BKHT494XCy
— BAE Systems Maritime (@BAES_Maritime) June 7, 2018
Australia has a long history of building ships domestically, usually from foreign designs modified to the RAN’s requirements. As is the story in many other countries however, the Australian shipbuilding industry’s fortunes have waxed and waned with the cycle between major navy projects. The only export or civilian shipbuilding of any significance in the country being confined to fast ferry specialists Austal of Henderson, Western Australia and Tasmania’s InCat.
As in the UK, local political sensitivities are also a factor. Under project SEA4000 modules for the Hobart class destroyers were built by yards around the country, being consolidated at ASC’s yard at Osborne, near Adelaide in South Australia. Under SEA5000 however it is expected all major fabrication and certainly all assembly will be done at Osborne. The terms of the competition do not compel bidders to work with ASC, but they are obliged to locate the work at Osborne. The decline of manufacturing in South Australia, recently punctuated by the exit of all major car manufacturers, has put immense pressure on all sides of politics to be conspicuous in their support the state’s other remaining major manufacturing industry.
We have a guide on the Type 26 Frigate, available here.