Australia and the UK have further strengthened their enduring defence relationship by signing an MoU to cooperate on building and delivering the next generation of cutting-edge frigates, the MoD announced on 20 October.
The MoU reinforces commitment to delivering these important high-profile national programmes and exploiting mutual opportunities. A key aspect is a pledge on information exchange, to ensure shipbuilding best practice is shared and that both frigate programmes deliver superior naval capabilities to the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy. The agreement also sets out a framework to enable both nations to use the T26 and HUNTER programmes to create jobs and contribute to the growth of both economies, seeking to support small and medium-sized enterprises.
“The UK and Australia have always been natural allies. This agreement demonstrates this government’s ongoing commitment to the Type 26 shipbuilding programme whilst supporting our Australian allies to design and build the HUNTER-class frigate […] As we look to the future of our respective navies, our shared continued cooperation will benefit our close alliance and support the industrial supply chain to grow each nation’s shipbuilding sectors,” commented British Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace.
In his role as Shipbuilding Tsar, the Defence Secretary is actively reinvigorating UK shipbuilding. This role brings together other government departments to shape policies and strategies and to ensure British shipbuilding thrives.
“There are currently seven Australian companies contracted for work on the UK’s Type 26 programmes and this agreement supports the close co-operation between UK and Australian industry […] We are already seeing the benefits of cooperation on the two programmes, with Australian workers involved in the Type 26 build ready to come home and help build the HUNTER-class frigates in South Australia. The Australian government is committed to delivering a continuous naval shipbuilding programme and the HUNTER and Type 26 programmes provide a great opportunity to capitalise on our shared industrial capability with the UK […] The MoU will support the successful delivery of Australia’s HUNTER-Class Frigate Programme, while also growing key defence capabilities in Australia,” observed Australian Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds.
Prototyping for the HUNTER-Class Frigate Programme will begin by the end of 2020.