Australia gets proposals to acquire 3 additional air warfare destroyers


A Hobart-class destroyer of the RAN. Photo c/o RAN.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is said to be warming to a proposal by defense circles and strategists to procure an additional 3 new air warfare destroyers by the end of the decade, as the country faces increased tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

The proposal, estimated to be worth A$6 billion (US$4.01 billion) was made by the Defence Strategic Review team led by former Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith, and former Australian Defence Force chief Angus Houston, and is said to be delivered to the Australian Government by March 2023.

The RAN was said to be supportive with the proposed construction of additional destroyers as its existing Hunter-class Future Frigate Program is facing delays over weight and design issues, and concerns on the ability to extend the lifespan of its current Anzac-class frigates that could create a potential gap in the capacity and capability of the naval forces.

Australia is currently facing pressure to increase its defense capacity as the strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific region between its main ally the United States, and the region’s giant China have intensified, as well as the threat of war over China’s plans to forcefully takeover Taiwan.

The plan is for the new destroyers to be built before the first Hunter-class frigate starts construction, using the existing Hobart-class destroyer from Spanish shipbuilder Navantia as basis, reducing time and cost risks associated to development and construction of  a new warship design.

Navantia was reported to have already met Department of Defence officials to discuss the proposal, and has estimated that they could deliver all 3 ships to the RAN by 2030, depending on the option.

Three options have been forwarded: the first is to build all 3 destroyers at Navantia’s shipyard in Spain, the second is a hybrid build between Spanish and Australian shipbuilders, and the third is to build all ships in Adelaide, where the 3 original Hobart-class destroyers were built.

The third option is expected to be more expensive and would not be completed until mid-2032, but would benefit the Australian defense industry.

Rather than replacing the Hunter-class frigate program, the 3 new destroyers will 
instead complement them, providing additional firepower and increased capability to the RAN.

The Australian
[2] Australian Financial Review

Australia gets proposals to acquire 3 additional air warfare destroyers Australia gets proposals to acquire 3 additional air warfare destroyers Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on November 14, 2022 Rating: 5

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