BAE Systems won a $26 billion contest to design and build nine frigates for the Royal Australian Navy, according to Thursday media reports.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to formally announce the award Friday, The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets reported. The BAE Type 26 frigates, to be named Hunter-class, will be built in Australia by the state-owned ASC Shipbuilding at its Osborne Naval Shipyard. The Wall Street Journal reported the yard will become a BAE subsidiary during the length of the contract.
ASC, which operates three shipyards in Australia, builds the Hobart-class air warfare destroyer for the Royal Australian Navy, and built and maintains Australian’s fleet of six Collins-class submarines, according to the company.
BAE, maker of the 7,000-ton Type 26 design, had been competing against Italian-based Fincantieri and Spain-based Navantia for the contract. While the Fincantieri and Navantia designs are both being considered for the future U.S. Navy frigate competition, the BAE Type 26 and Type 31 were not eligible for the U.S. frigate, contest because the rules required designs submitted to already in service, not a concept or in production.
Last year, BAE started building the first batch of what will ultimately be a fleet of eight Type 26 frigates for the U.K. Royal Navy. The design is also under consideration by the Royal Candian Navy for its future frigate.
“The ships specialize in anti-submarine warfare, protecting the U.K.’s overseas territories and interests across the globe. The flexible design will allow the capabilities to be adapted throughout its lifespan to counter future threats,” the Royal Navy said in a statement when the contract was announced.