Britain’s BAE Systems PLC has won a A$35 billion (US$25.7 billion) contest to deliver anti-submarine warfare frigates for the Australian navy, the Australian government said on Thursday, June 28.
The nine ships, to be designed by BAE and built by government-owned ASC Shipbuilding in Adelaide are expected to underpin the country’s maritime combat capability for decades to come, the Australian government said in a statement.
“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,” it said of the ships.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told ABC Radio that the project is expected to create 4,000 jobs in South Australia.
British Prime Minister Teresa May welcomed the decision.
“While this is an enormous boost for the UK economy, it will also cement our strategic partnership with one of our oldest and closest friends for decades to come,” she said in a statement.
Our Future Frigate Program: National security. Jobs. Innovation. Sovereignty. https://t.co/3ywuIyBqRr
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) June 29, 2018
Australia is a steadfast U.S. military ally and has had a strained political relationship with China since Prime Minister Turnbull late last year cited the regime’s meddling in domestic politics as justification for tough new laws designed to prevent interference by foreign governments.
The Hunter class ships for Australia are based on the BAE Type 26 frigate the company is building for the British navy.
BAE beat Italy’s Fincantieri SpA and Spain’s Navantia SA for the prized contract.
Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive of BAE said in a statement he was proud his company “is expected to contribute to the development of an enduring world-class naval shipbuilding industry in Australia.”
The new Australian ships will begin entering service in the late 2020s replacing eight Anzac class frigates, which have been in service since 1996.
Australia in October announced its new frigates would be fitted with long-range -anti-missile defence systems to counter the threat of rogue nations.
The country has been modernising its military in recent years through the purchase of a fleet of new submarines and F-35 fighter jets.
Australia on Tuesday, June 26, announced it would buy six U.S. Triton remotely piloted aircrafts to beef up its maritime patrols.
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