Western Australia to support the Navy’s new Hunter class frigates

HMAS Sirius ported at HMAS Stirling, which will form part of a new training centre for Hunter class frigates.Picture: Royal Australian Navy

Western Australia will be home to a new training and capability centre, known as ‘Ship Zero’, to support the Australian Navy’s new Hunter class frigates.

According to a joint media statement by the Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne and Minister for Defence Marise Payne, Ship Zero will be located at the HMAS Stirling and Henderson naval bases and is part of a  $670 million investment to support Australia’s new frigates.

On Friday, the government announced British company  BAE System as the chosen company to deliver a fleet of nine anti-submarine frigates to the Australian Navy – at an estimated total cost of $35 billion.

The new “Hunter class” global combat ships, which will be designed by BAE Systems and built by ASC shipbuilding, will replace the Navy’s eight ageing Anzac-class frigates.

Minister Pyne said as the new warships will be larger and have more complex systems than the existing ANZAC class frigates, they will require new and upgraded facilities at HMAS Stirling.

As part of this $670 million investment, the Government will:

  • Extend the existing wharfs
  • Construct maintenance and equipment storage buildings
  • Construct new support facilities, including medical facilities and accommodation
  • Construct a new Navy Training Systems Centre – West

Ship Zero located at both HMAS Stirling and Henderson will include a headquarters, through-life test centre, ship and capability specific training school, and potentially a land based test site for platform systems.

Ship Zero will transfer an increasing amount of the training that has traditionally been done at sea to land. This will mean each of our new frigates will be able to spend more time on operations and exercising with our allies and partners, and less time in port for crew training.

Hunter class frigate crew training will be based on a combination of classroom instruction, shore-based simulation, virtual reality training system and live training events ashore, centred at Ship Zero.

These upgrades to HMAS Stirling are in addition to the $300 million upgrades associated with the selection of Stirling as ‘Ship Zero’ for the Offshore Patrol Vessels, the $150 million upgrades to support the new Maritime Operational Support Capability vessels and the $367 million redevelopment of HMAS Stirling infrastructure.  This ensure our ADF members have access to modern fit-for purpose facilities and will bring total investment at HMAS Stirling to well over $1 billion.

Parliamentary consideration of this project is expected early next year, with construction to commence in 2019.

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