Britain’s BAE Systems has submitted a bid to the Australian Government for the country’s planned nine anti-submarine frigates, the company said Aug. 10.

BAE is one of three companies bidding to partner with the government to develop a general long-term ship building strategy for complex warships and specifically nine anti-submarine warfare frigates for the Royal Australian Navy. The program is called SEA 5000 Future Frigate.

BAE’s offering is the Global Combat Ship-Australia, a variant of its Type 26 Global Combat Ship. The Type 27 began manufacture for the first ships on July 20 for the United Kingdom Royal Navy.

Artist's concept of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship bid for Australia's SEA 5000 Future Frigate program. Image: BAE Systems.
Artist’s concept of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship bid for Australia’s SEA 5000 Future Frigate program. Image: BAE Systems.

Australia’s Department of Defence first announced March 31 it asked three ship designers to submit proposals, request for tender (RFT), for the frigate project:  BAE, Italy’s Fincantieri, and Spain’s Navantia (Defense Daily, April 11).

Fincantieri is offering its FREMM Frigate and Navantia is offering a redesigned F100. All three companies have been working with the Australian government to refine their designs since Aug. 2015. Australia’s Department of Defence plans to begin evaluating responses to the RFT later this year and announce a winning designer in 2018.

BAE argued its Type 26 offering has a modern digital design approach “that uses the latest engineering and design technologies.” BAE said since it is a bow-to-stern digital design, the company can de-risk construction for the Royal Navy with Australia set to benefit from what they learn out of the UK construction process.

“By combining the formidable capability of our Type 26 anti-submarine warfare frigate with the heritage and skills we have in Australia, we are sure we can offer a proposition to the Government that is both transformational and compelling. Our commitment is to establish a world class ship building capability in Australia that will build Australian ships with an Australian work force,” Nigel Stewart, BAE Systems’ director of maritime business development, said in a statement.

He added the company is “committed to representing Australia in the global marketplace, helping grow Australia’s export opportunities and opening up new markets for Australian industry through our global supply chain.”

BAE’s bid was put together by a joint UK and Australian team to more easily facilitate learning and knowledge from the Type 26 program. Stewart leads the BAE’s campaign for the Australian program.

“BAE Systems has over 3,500 people already working in Australia, a fully mature supply chain of over 1,600 Australian SMEs and we have a proud history of over 60 years working in partnership with the Australian Government as a trusted supplier,” Glynn Phillips, BAE Systems Australia chief executive, added.

The Australian government intends to start building the frigates in 2020 in Adelaide, South Australia and they are set to enter service in the late 2020s. It expects to spend over $26 billion on the vessels to replace the current fleet of eight Anzac-class frigates.

The original RFT announcement noted the three designed must demonstrate and develop an Australian supple chain to support the country’s future shipbuilding industry.