www.indopacificexpo.com.auBRENDAN O’CONNOR MP



Australia’s $45 billion Future Frigates are facing serious issues, but the Morrison Government has no back up plan to bridge a capability gap.

Senate Estimates today revealed that the department has not been asked by the Government to explore alternative platforms to bridge the capability gap.

This Government has scrapped the Attack Class submarines and retired the Taipan and Tiger helicopters much earlier than planned, and yet they have not asked the Defence Department to prepare a Plan B for the Future Frigates program which is already facing serious issues.

The Future Frigates, the second largest procurement project in Australia’s history, are already running $15 billion over budget, are running four years late, and defence documents state that the vessels will be slower, vulnerable to detection, unable to use their radars while sailing at full speed and with limited range.

Instead of planning ahead for our national security, the Defence Minister has attempted to hose down the significance of technical concerns flagged in an important departmental report.

Considering this Government’s track record of bungling major defence contracts, it is reckless that this government has no alternative plan.

Federal Labor has grave concerns the Government is failing to maintain and deliver the capability we need to keep Australians safe.

The Morrison Government likes to talk tough on Defence, but the reality is they are haemorrhaging money with consistent cost blow outs, while failing actually to deliver the assets we need to defend our nation.

This Government’s actions fail to match their words when it comes to defending this nation.

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    • Indeed it is – and it is clearly identified as such. We publish media releases from Peter Dutton and Melissa Price all of the time because most people consider them to be newsworthy.

  1. Without disclosing state secrets, how much of this info is credible? Is it so different from the base model ( type26) that any (or some) of these claims could be true? Have great concerns over the delays, but unless explained other wise, I think the choice was sound. The lack of concern for expediency is very worrying, but until provided with a better alternative….
    That said, there should always be a plan B….

    • It’s not necessary to disclose any state secrets in confirming that what Brendan O’Conner has said is 100% accurate because it is based a) on the evidence given to the Senate by Defence officials and b) an internal document leaked to ‘The Australian’ newspaper and subsequently very widely reported. The Hunter Class frigate is a slow motion train wreck. The original 8,000 tonne design is now at 10,000 tonnes and has no growth margin remaining. The hull is having to be redesigned. It is already a minimum of 2 years late and probably 4.

  2. American Navy tweaked French/Italian FREMM frigate design for new Constellation Frigate – the hull is bigger, as are the engines et al. The USN described the growth as resembling someone buying a larger house from the same builder.

    RAN tweaked Spanish F100 design for Hobart Air Warfare Destroyer – bigger engines, fuel tank, berths so the vessel grew from 5,800 to around 7000 tonnes. The expansion was a cracking job & may have also overcome concerns after the Norwegian design sank after colliding with a Commercial Vessel (so the redesign made the original safer & more suitable for our Navy’s use).

    Surely an Engineering Design Review would recommend additional capacity be built? Plus bigger engines, fuel tanks, ammo magazine & supply lockers to ensure the capability (acceleration, top cruise speed, optimal range) as required for the RAN?

      • Agreed, perfectly normal part of the design journey.
        The issue is that Design Review is being used by politicians to discredit the overall process.
        They’re certainly not working in the best interests of the nation when they do that

        • I respectfully disagree. There is nothing normal about a design process that has already led to a 2 year delay and weight growth from 8,000 tonnes to 10,000 tonnes.

  3. My concern with this project, apart from the obvious one being that we should have chosen a proven design that was actually in the water and not just a power point presentation.
    Is that this ship is trying to be all things to all people.
    Why are we trying to turn an ASW ship into an Air Warfare destroyer?
    Extra electrical requirements to run the seriously upgraded radars leading to massive space and weight issues for radars plus extra generation capacity and extra cooling.
    Keep it focussed on ASW and if you want something to take on the Chinese or another surface fleet then get a seperate vessel and hint hint the nuclear subs are the best option there.

  4. While the Italian FREMM was a proven design, the Type 26 was, and remains to this day, an unproven design and therefore not even admitted for the US Constellation class.

    In November 2014, the First Sea Lord, Adm. Sir George Zambellas said the FREMM frigate was being considered instead of the BAE Type 26 design. This is because the Type 45 lost and still loses all power at sea (all six were tied up in port a month ago). BAE have no proven experience with ships of this size.

    BAE Australia went so far as to say the Italian FREMM was an old design (though still being delivered at the time), and the Type 26 would be the most capable ships in the world (though none were in the water – and still aren’t – to give any kind of substantiation).

    It all comes down to corruption and accountability in the end. Is 45 billion AUD acceptable for the title Sir Christopher Pyne, with no useful frigates delivered?


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