The design, a modified variant of the same class being built by the UK and Canada, is named the ‘Hunter’ class.

At the Osborne shipyard in South Australia, Minister for Finance, Senator Simon Birmingham, SA Premier Steven Marshall and BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Gabby Costigan were joined by BAE Systems Maritime Australia employees as Australian steel was cut to officially launch the Hunter program’s prototyping phase.

During prototyping, five representative ship blocks will be manufactured and assembled using Australian steel, and the systems, processes, facilities and workforce competencies will be established and tested, providing a solid operational foundation before construction starts on the first Hunter Class Frigate in 2022.

The steel cutting.

BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Officer, Gabby Costigan, said:

“To start prototyping just two years after the contract to deliver the Hunter program was signed in 2018, is an incredible achievement. The pace of the program has been swift. We have moved into a modern, digitally advanced shipyard, progressed the design of the ship and significantly expanded our workforce. In the year ahead, we look forward to recruiting many more people to the program, putting the shipyard through its paces, engaging further with our supply chain and placing more contracts with Australian businesses.”

BAE Systems Maritime Australia Managing Director, Craig Lockhart, said:

“The next two years of prototyping will be incredibly important as we prove our systems and manufacturing processes ahead of construction starting at the end of 2022. Australian companies will play a significant role in the prototyping phase – the overwhelming majority of the content provided will be from Australian sourced materials and services. In parallel, we’re also working with Australian industry and academia to explore and test local technologies that could contribute to the efficiency of the construction phase.”

BAE Systems Maritime Australia will build nine warships for the Royal Australian Navy over the next three decades.

BAE add that the Hunter Class frigate is based on the Type 26 Global Combat Ship design, which supports a close partnership between the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy, all of whom have selected a variant of the design for their anti-submarine frigate programs, supporting greater operational, training and intelligence ties.

5 2 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hi all hope you are well.
This is good news and helps pave the way for one of the most advanced warships derived from the UK. As we moved forward, this cements the UK’s ship building on a global scale.


Thank you. Stay well yourself. This looks like a great looking ship, especially with its impressive radar mast. However it does not look as tall as a T45 destroyer. As such… is it viable for the RN to develop a AA ship based on a T26… as sometimes it’s suggested?


The photo in the article is a very old early image, it is not accurate, the proper mast is taller, see the link to the RAN website below:

Maybe George can update the image with the correct photo??? It has been pointed out before.


Meirion X

An AAW T26 would need a deeper stern to hold ballast to counter-balance the topside weight of a much bigger front side SAM silo of maybe a 64 cell VLS.

Last edited 26 days ago by Meirion X

That would depend on where the SAM silo is located. There is no problem with 32 cell VLS forward (RAN & RCN versions). If you are going for a T46, then the current T26 multi-mission bay is where I suggest you should be looking. Turn it into boat bays & missile space. 64 VLS should not be a problem (I understand BAE have also indicated to Australia that T26 can go to 64 VLS).


The RCN will be investing in the development of a dedicated AAW variant for up to 5 vessels of the 15 Type-26 that they will procure, with the remainder focussed on ASW. The RN could take advantage of this RCN investment in AAW in the future if it chooses to the Type-26 baseline for the Type-45 replacement.

Last edited 26 days ago by TwinTiger

Mate, my understanding, from all I’ve read, is that the Canadian T26 will be one variant only, not separate ASW and AAW variants.

Have you got some info that shows plans two distinct versions?


Paul T

That was my Understanding Also – The Specs of the RCN Variant were Recently Released,they will be Equipped with SM-2,ESSM plus Sea Ceptor so they wont be Lacking in any AAW Capability.


Back in the 60s and 70s the RAN procured versions of the RN Type 12 Leanders. The first 4 had the Dutch LW02 L-Band radar mounted on a fairly tall mast. The last batch of 2 lowered the LW02 to a shorter mast and got better range – counterintuitive but a fact in atmospheric inversions where a lower placed radar would propagate an L-Band in the surface duct and detect low flying aircraft well outside the normal radar horizon.


George, can you please update the old inaccurate Hunter class image you have used for the correct one?


I wonder if the Aussies will get their first Hunter in service before we get a City in service?


Hi Julian1 we had a photo on here with Tom Dick & Harry working their nuts off, no way the Aussies will beat us into the water…… unless the cheat and use lots of operatives and lots of tools


Isn’t the first T26 to a great degree in place as a shell certainly the central sections and bridge? That being the case we would have to go some number of country miles to not have that in service when the Aussie version is not to start it’s build till sometime in 2022. I know we are very capable in such delay tactics but that would be something of a worldy of a barrier building exercise.


Simple answer is no. Long answer is that the blocks now being started are for prototype workings, eg, test/sample blocks, better to play around with these to test the processes than screw up a real block. Some here in Oz have questioned this process, but better safe than sorry is the path being followed. The real production block work doesn’t start for another two years, 2022, for the first ship, the future HMAS Hunter. At this stage there is no clear answer if these five prototype blocks will be re-worked in the future and become production blocks for one of… Read more »


the prototype blocks will not be used Levi Catton, Gibbs & Cox, Australia at the RINA / IMarEST / Engineers Australia Joint Webinar 20 May 2020, Sydney NSW has stated that cheers


Hi Ross, yeah I wasn’t sure if the prototype blocks might end up being used, I had read conflicting reports in the past that maybe further down the production run they might be used.



you’re right about the reports about whether the prototype blocks may or may not be used i wasn’t sure myself until i came upon that webinar on youtube where levi catton put to bed they would not be used for the hunter class all about getting the digital system working properly cheers


Yep – remember what happened to the Hobart class DDG (Navantia F100) built at the same shipyard here in Adelaide. Blocks were built and finished and then had to be pulled apart because the doors were not big enough to fit the installed equipment. The original Hobart originally took 3 times the expected man-hours per tonne because of the lack of experience with the design.


Hi Steve, yes I do remember that, from memory the main one that stands out was the central keel block manufactured by BAE in Melbourne.

Everybody was blaming everyone else, I think the main problem was the management structure (or lack of structure) of the AWD Alliance.

This time around all blocks will be made in Adelaide and if there are screw ups (beyond prototyping), then the spotlight will shine brightly on BAE.



If I remember correctly, most of the stuff-ups were by BAE. Forjacs had to pickup extra bocks to compensate.

Robert Stevenson

Here was the last picture of HMS Glasgow build in early December

Glasgow continued to take shape in our Govan yard with a number of unit erections and equipment installed. Nov
George Royce

Great news. Hopefully steel for the Canadian ships will be laid soon. Even more hopeful for NZ to buy a couple too.


I think we would all like to see the Kiwis with a pair of T26, especially if they were built here in Oz! (The expanded shipyard in SA has the physical capacity to build two at a time, not necessarily the manpower though). But realistically I can’t see that happening, I can’t see their Government stumping up the dollars for a pair of expensive high end frigates. The Kiwis will have to be a bit more creative with their spend, T31 is probably more likely to be within their budget, but I wouldn’t be surprised when the time comes, that… Read more »

George Royce

I agree it’s most likely out of their budget. But T31 would be a great fit. Highly adaptive, general purpose, affordable platform, with great modern system and British build quality. They might want to make those in Oz though, but I think we should let them. CANZUK is really important to us now that we have left the EU, so hopefully this lights the spark and our relationships become stronger.


I agree that T31 would be a good fit for New Zealand. It’s such an adaptable design with dozens of sensor and weapon options that they can still dovetail on various bits of Hunter Class procurement but deployed on a much more general purpose and affordable hull.


Whatever NZ buys they need to buy 3 of. Of NZ’s last 2 buys being from SK, they were large ships not currently built in Australia (hence Australia buying it’s own AOR’s from Spain). Frigate builds though can be carried out at either Osbourne (SA) or Civmec (WA). NZ companies have been involved in Australian shipbuilding since the joint Anzac class builds if not before. Money spent in SK is gone. Money spent in Australia is never quite gone.


The Aussie’s are taking their own defense very seriously with this and all the other defense acquisitions they are making. Germany could learn a thing or 2 from them but am not holding my breath…..


The UK even more so.


Dern, have a look at the link in my post to Dan, cheers

George Royce



Dan, yes the Government here in Australia is taking defence policy and spending seriously (and fortunately there is a bipartisan approach from the two major political parties too). You may be interested in having a read of this (released mid this year), it is the 2020 Strategic Defence Update & 2020 Force Structure Plan, a lot of detailed information: It shows policy, capabilities, projects and spending for the next 10 years. Spending has been ‘de-linked’ from GDP and is now above 2% and will stay above too. This financial year, 2020-22, defence spending is A$42.151B and will rise to… Read more »