First step in boosting Navy's undersea warfare and strike capability

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The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

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02 6277 7800

Peter Malinauskas

Premier of South Australia

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21 June 2024

Today, the Albanese Government has taken another significant step in delivering Navy’s enhanced lethality surface combatant fleet with construction commencing on the first Hunter Class Frigate.  

This major milestone was marked by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Premier of South Australia cutting the first piece of steel to be used on the first ship of the class.

Earlier this year, the Albanese Government announced the most significant investment in Navy’s surface fleet in decades. This included a commitment to build six Hunter class frigates in South Australia to significantly improve Navy’s undersea warfare and strike capability. 

The contract for the construction phase for the first three Hunter Class Frigates has now been signed by Defence and BAE Systems Australia, with the first Hunter Class Frigate expected to be operational in 2034. 

Construction of the Hunter Class Frigates will take place at the Osborne Naval Shipyard as part of the Albanese Government’s commitment to continuous naval shipbuilding in South Australia.  

The construction phase of the Hunter Class Frigate Program will run for 20 years. 

At its peak this program will support around 3,000 direct jobs and will support a further 5,000 indirect jobs across the Australian supply chain.

These jobs are in addition to the thousands of highly skilled workers that will be required to build our AUKUS submarines and extend the life of the Collins class submarines, both of which will also take place at Osborne in South Australia.

The Hunter Class Frigates are a key component of the Albanese Government’s commitment to ensure the Royal Australian Navy has a surface fleet with high levels of lethality and deterrence in a time of increased global uncertainty. 

Quotes attributable to Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Richard Marles MP:

“This first milestone is not just about cutting steel; we are supporting Australian workers to build frigates in an Australian yard, supporting Australian industry. 

“Continuous naval shipbuilding is how Australia will grow its shipbuilding and sustainment workforce, industry, and infrastructure.

“This milestone exemplifies our government's commitment to deliver continuous naval shipbuilding in South Australia and a future made in Australia, by Australians.

“This project will support highly skilled Australian jobs, including around 3,000 direct jobs at its peak and a further 5,000 indirect jobs through the Australia supply chain.” 

Quotes attributable to Premier of South Australia, Peter Malinauskas:

“This is a momentous day for our state.

“The construction of the frigates locks in a pipeline of continuous naval shipbuilding in South Australia, delivering thousands of secure, well paid jobs for generations to come.

“This delivery of frigates alongside SSN-AUKUS submarines puts South Australia front and centre in the most crucial of national endeavors.

“It also represents a step change in our state’s economic complexity, which will help improve the standard of living for South Australians more broadly.”

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