Australia’s plans to advance the schedule for building frigates and patrol vessels and to emphasize domestic production effectively commits the government to a permanent shipbuilding industry, officials said.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Defence Minister Kevin Andrews jointly announced a plan last week to bring forward the Royal Australian Navy’s Future Frigate and Offshore Patrol Vessel programs and build the vessels in Australian shipyards.
Together with the Future Submarine program, the government says it will invest AUS $89 billion (US $65.4 billion) over the next 20 years.
Abbott committed to a “continuous build” of the surface warships in a measure to overcome the “boom and bust” cycles historically experienced by naval shipbuilders in Australia.
“The government will implement a continuous build of surface warships in Australia. This means that Australia’s shipbuilding workforce will build the Navy’s future frigates and offshore patrol vessels,” he said. “It’s the first time that any Australian government has committed to a permanent naval shipbuilding industry. This strategy will transform Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry and put it onto a sustainable long-term path, giving the workforce certainty in the future.”