Mark Collins – New Aussie Frigates: Three Designs Shortlisted (cf. RCN CSCs)

Down Under they are moving rather more smartly than Canada–further to these posts,

RCN’s Canadian Surface Combatant Will be Foreign Design
[seven contenders are currently in the running]

RCN Canadian Surface Combatant Woes: Not Enough Dough

the Aussies have a made a down-select:

BAE, Fincantieri and Navantia ships on Australian shortlist

Australian Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne has announced that proposals from BAE Systems, Fincantieri and Navantia have been shortlisted for the country’s program to build nine new frigates for the Royal Australian Navy

[Note the RAN is already having built–with some difficulty–three air warfare destroyers; God knows how many CSCs with what capabilities Canada will end up affording. The previous Conservative government had admitted we might get only 11 instead of 15 CSCs: “The Incredible Shrinking RCN Canadian Surface Combatant Fleet, or…“].

The BAE Systems Global Combat Ship, based on the Type 26 frigate [more here]; Fincantieri’s anti-submarine warfare FREMM (Fregata Europea Multi-Missione [more here]) and a redesigned version of Navantia’s Álvaro de Bazán (F100) class vessel [more here] are vying for the $35 billion (US $27 billion) program [all three are in the running for the RCN design].

The ships will be built in Adelaide, South Australia, with the first steel expected to be cut in 2020 [as for RCN CSCs, the “Implementation Contract” is only supposed to be awarded in the early 2020s with first delivery in the late 2020s!] and will be fitted with phased array radar systems being developed by Australia’s CEA Technologies.

The shortlist marks first-pass approval of Australia’s Future Frigate program (Project Sea 5000) and the ongoing competitive evaluation process (CEP) is expected to select a winning design, marking second pass approval, in 2018.

Two competing ship designers, DCNS of France and TKMS of Germany, have effectively been eliminated from the CEP by today’s announcement [earlier: “French Hard After Aussie Frigate Deal (and Canadian too)‘]…

Australia is also seeking to build 12 offshore patrol vessels and Payne revealed that Damen of the Netherlands, together with two German ship designers, Fassmer and Lürsssen, have been shortlisted and will now refine their respective proposals in conjunction with the commonwealth.

The $3 billion (US $2.31 billion) OPV program, known as Project Sea 1180, has also gained first pass approval and construction is due to begin in Adelaide in 2018, but will transfer to Western Australia in 2020, when construction of the first of the Sea 5000 frigates gets underway in South Australia [smallish vessels–but maybe we could use larger ships of the general type: “Royal Canadian Navy: 15 Canadian Surface Combatants? Maybe Some Offshore Patrol Vessels Instead“]…

More on the extensive Aussie naval procurement plans here:

New Aussie Defence White Paper: The Two Percent Solution

Sunny ways at sea coming to the Antipodes but not likely to the Great White North.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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