Australia Seeks Frigates from International Shipbuilders

Navy News

Australia has approached shipbuilders from Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Spain to procure general-purpose frigates under Project Sea 3000. On May 24, the government sent requests for information, but further details remain undisclosed due to ongoing evaluations.

A February review titled “Enhanced Lethality Surface Combatant Fleet” recommended replacing eight Anzac-class frigates with 11 new ones, with the first three to be built overseas and the rest in Western Australia. Potential contenders include Germany’s MEKO A-200, Japan’s 30FFM, South Korea’s FFX batches, and Spain’s Alfa 3000.

Shipbuilders have four weeks to respond to the initial request and another three weeks to detail how they can build the frigates in Australia. Selection is expected next year, with the first overseas-built ship commissioning in 2030. The fourth through sixth vessels will be built in Australia, with designs for the remaining frigates still undecided.

By 2026, the Royal Australian Navy will have nine hulls, highlighting a capability gap before new frigates arrive. Rear Adm. Stephen Hughes emphasized using existing designs to expedite the process, despite potential challenges with integrating unfamiliar systems.

Shipbuilders confirmed participation but provided limited details. Hyundai Heavy Industries highlighted its experience and competitiveness in warship building. The Australian Navy will adopt a consistent capability standard across new frigates, despite potential design risks.

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