Australia and the United Kingdom (UK) have further strengthened their defence relationship by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on building and delivering the next generation of cutting-edge frigates. The MoU re-enforces both countries’ commitment to working together on delivering these important high-profile national programs and maximising mutual opportunities.
A key aspect of the MOU is a pledge for information exchange to ensure shipbuilding best practice is shared and both frigate programs deliver world-beating maritime capabilities to the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy. The agreement also sets out a framework to enable both nations to utilise the Type 26 and Hunter programs to create jobs and contribute to the growth of the UK and Australian economies, seeking to support small and medium-sized enterprises.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the UK’s defence relationship with Australia was based on deep historical and cultural ties, reinforced by strong operational cooperation. “The UK and Australia have always been natural allies and this agreement demonstrates this Government’s ongoing commitment to the Type 26 shipbuilding program while 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 not only our close alliance but will also support the industrial supply chain to grow each nation’s shipbuilding sectors.”
From working together in Afghanistan and Iraq, to the broader shared interest in safeguarding the rules-based global order, UK and Australia continue to invest in their long-standing alliance.
In his role as Shipbuilding Tsar, the UK defence secretary is actively reinvigorating UK shipbuilding. This role brings together other government departments to shape policies and strategies. As Shipbuilding Tsar, the UK defence secretary works closely with colleagues across government to bring together the brilliant work already being done, and to ensure British shipbuilding thrives.
Australia Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said there are currently seven Australian companies contracted for work on the UK’s Type 26 programs. “This agreement supports the close co-operation between UK and Australian industry,” Reynolds said. “We are already seeing the benefits of cooperation on the two programs, with Australian workers involved in the Type 26 build ready to come home and help build the Hunter class frigates in South Australia. This government is committed to delivering a continuous naval shipbuilding program and the Hunter and Type 26 programs provide significant opportunities to capitalise on our shared industrial capability with the UK. The MoU will support successful delivery of Australia’s Hunter Class Frigate Program, while also growing key defence capabilities in Australia.”
Prototyping for the Hunter Class Frigate Programme will begin by the end of 2020.