Defence Minister Kevin Andrews has outlined the “key principles” which are guiding the government’s consideration of an acquisition strategy for the SEA 5000 Future Frigate program.
The Minister told ASPI’s Future Surface Fleet Conference in Canberra on Tuesday that the key principles comprised:
the necessity for a well-integrated designer, builder and supplier team;
preferencing mature designs of vessels rather than choosing to design a new class of vessel from scratch or undertaking large-scale modification of existing designs;
thoroughly testing Navy’s capability requirement against more readily available military vessels;
limiting the amount of changes to the design selected for ‘unique’ Australian requirements; and
spending more time at the beginning of the project on planning the design and build program.
Said MINDEF: “While these principles will in the first part apply to our consideration of the Future Frigate, all future Defence capability programs related to naval ships should be in conformance with those principles, and with the capability and acquisition processes to be recommended by the First Principles Review.”
The Minister told the conference “Defence and Industry are currently conducting risk reduction design studies to investigate a number of options for the Future Frigate including the viability of an evolved Hobart Class as a possible solution.
“Consideration is also being given to a range of alternative foreign designs such as the Type 26 and FREMM frigates, amongst others.”