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Australia Confirms $7B Investment in Enhanced Lethality Surface Combatant Fleet Development

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The Australian government will invest $7.28 billion over the next decade to develop the Royal Australian Navy’s enhanced lethality surface combatant fleet.

The fleet includes three upgraded Hobart-class air warfare destroyers and six Hunter-class frigates.

According to Defense News, BAE Systems Australia, the prime contractor for the anti-submarine frigate program, has already begun its prototyping phase for the warship. The company’s shipbuilding operations are based at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.

Canberra said the investment will provide the critical infrastructure at the shipyard and create thousands of new jobs in the country.

In a statement, BAE said Australian officials’ decision to push through with the frigate program reflects its confidence in the Hunter class’ anti-submarine capabilities.

Craig Lockhart, managing director of BAE Systems Australia for maritime, highlighted the company’s commitment to ensure the Royal Australian Navy has the capability to meet future challenges, noting that BAE Systems has already made significant progress on the Hunter program.

The Australia government plans to begin the construction of the first frigate in the coming months following the award of a build contract. Once the final frigate is delivered by 2043, it expects to commence developing the Hobart-class destroyers equipped with enhanced air defense and strike capabilities.

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