BAE Systems looks to position Hunter-class frigate for New Zealand

14 July 2019

BAE Systems Australia has indicated a potential move to position its Hunter-class frigate, which has already been selected by Australia, to meet a future requirement within the RNZN. Source: Royal Australian Navy

BAE Systems Australia has confirmed a potential move to position the company's Hunter-class frigate design for the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN).

A spokesperson for BAE Systems Australia told Jane's on 12 July that given its commitment to deliver the Hunter-class platform to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) under its Sea 5000 project, it would be "logical" for the Australian government to also pursue international sales of the vessel.

When asked by Jane's to confirm that the company will look to export the Hunter-class frigate to New Zealand, the spokesperson said, "It is critical to understand that the programme to design and build nine world-leading Hunter-class frigates [for the RAN] will also see BAE Systems transfer technology and skills to Australia to enable the development of an enduring world-class naval shipbuilding industry for the nation.

"It would be a logical conclusion for the Australian government and its close allies to consider the potential export opportunities."

The spokesperson's comments followed a news report by the Financial Times newspaper on 11 July, which quoted Steve Timms, BAE managing director for naval ships, as saying "New Zealand is clearly interested" in the company's 6,900-tonne Type 26 frigate, on which the Hunter-class design in based.

According to the report, Timms said a deal with New Zealand could involve "two or three" vessels but declined to elaborate.

BAE Systems Australia signed a AUD35 billion (USD25 billion) contract in June 2018 with the Australian government to locally build nine Hunter-class frigates to replace the RAN's Anzac-class frigates, which have been in service since 1996 and were built by Australian shipbuilder Tenix Defence. Tenix Defence was acquired by BAE Systems in 2008.

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