The competitive evaluation processes for the Future Frigate and Offshore Patrol Vessel projects have now commenced, Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne has confirmed, with analysis of potential designs currently underway.
The federal government announced in August that it intends to establish a continuous build of surface warships in Australia. Senator Payne reiterated that the Offshore Patrol Vessels program is due to start in 2018, followed by the Future Frigates program in 2020.
“The Turnbull government is committed to ensuring Australia has a strong and sustainable shipbuilding industry; we are getting on with the job,” she said. “Defence is now conducting an analysis of mature ship designs for each project. This approach will enable government to better understand the options.”
The minister has been visiting South Australia to see the work being done on the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program and sustainment of the Collins class submarines, having visited Western Australia yesterday.
“The Adelaide shipbuilding and submarine sustainment workforce is world-class; the announcements we have made on the Future Frigates will help secure thousands of jobs for the long term,” Senator Payne said, adding that Future Frigate construction work will be “centred in” Adelaide.
Industry and government representatives met at a breakfast hosted by the Defence Teaming Centre to hear from the Defence Minister.
“The defence industry looks forward to greater certainty when the Defence White Paper is released early next year; we are hoping the new policies released with the White Paper reflect a greater long-term vision, and recognition of the important role our defence industry plays in ensuring national security and sovereignty,” said Defence Teaming Centre chief executive officer Chris Burns.
“Australia has the skilled workforce and capacity to build defence capabilities locally; we just need the commitment of government to support our national defence industry. Our defence industry can play a huge role in Australia’s future economy, providing a platform for advanced manufacturing, innovation and agility, and developing highly skilled workers, all of which are transferable to other industry sectors.”