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Australia cuts steel for first Hunter-class frigate

An artist's impression of the future Hunter class. Steel for the first-of-class has been cut, the Australian DoD announced on 21 June. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Australia has begun construction work for the country's first Hunter-class frigate.

A milestone to mark the cutting of the first steel that will be used for the programme's first-of-class was announced by the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) in a media release on 21 June.

It was cut by Australia's Minister for Defence Richard Marles and Premier of South Australia Peter Malinauskas, and they jointly revealed in the media release that the contract for the construction phase for the first three Hunter-class frigates has now been signed by the DoD and BAE Systems Australia.

β€œThe construction phase of the Hunter-class frigate programme will run for 20 years,” said the media release. All warships will be built in-country by ASC Shipbuilding at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.

Australia is acquiring a batch of three 150 m Hunter-class frigates for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the first batch. Overall, the programme, seeks to equip the service with a fleet of nine 8,800 tonne frigates that are optimised for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations.

Its design is derived from BAE Systems' Global Combat Ship and it will be equipped with the US Navy's Aegis Combat System with an Australian interface developed by Saab Australia.

Weapons and sensors that will go onboard the frigate include a 127 mm naval gun in the primary position, a 32-cell Mk 41 vertical launching system (VLS) and an Australia-developed phased array radar from CEA Technologies.

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