Australia and the United Kingdom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build and deliver next-generation frigates for the navies of both countries, reinforcing the commitment to working together on crucial high-profile national defense programmes. A key aspect of the MOU is a pledge on information exchange to ensure that shipbuilding best practice is shared between the two countries and that both frigate programmes deliver state-of-the-art maritime capabilities to the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy.
The agreement sets out a framework that will enable both nations to utilise the T26 and Hunter programmes to create jobs and contribute to the growth of the respective economies, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. Prototyping for the Hunter Class Frigate Programme is due to begin in the near future.
Ben Wallace, the UK’s Defence Secretary, commented: “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.”
In his recently-appointed role as the government’s Shipbuilding Tsar, the Defence Secretary aims to reinvigorate UK shipbuilding. This role brings together other government departments to shape policies and strategies and to ensure British shipbuilding thrives.
The Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, Australian Minister for Defence, said: “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.”