Australia announced the official start of the prototyping phase of the Hunter Class Frigate Program today.

The prime contractor for the program, BAE Systems Maritime Australia, a subsidiary of BAE Systems Australia, will build five prototype blocks to test the production systems, develop the facilities and ensure the workforce is trained to build the Hunter class frigates.

At the Osborne shipyard in South Australia, Minister for Finance, Senator Simon Birmingham, SA Premier Steven Marshall and BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Gabby Costigan were joined by BAE Systems Maritime Australia employees as Australian steel was cut to officially launch the Hunter program’s prototyping phase.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said this was the culmination of two-and-half years of hard work since the completion of the Competitive Evaluation Process in June 2018.

The Hunter Class frigate is based on the Type 26 Global Combat Ship design. The prototyping phase of the Hunter Class Frigate Program will run for three years until 2023. The construction phase of the Hunter program is scheduled to commence by end 2022.