Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, today toured the Royal Navy frigate HMS Sutherland as it called into South Australia.
Sutherland is on a seven-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific to strengthen defence ties, as well as promote stability and security through combined naval operations and exercises.
Minister Pyne said the visit is a demonstration of the United Kingdom’s commitment to Australia and the region.
“Australia and the UK are committed to peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and Sutherland’s visit continues the close cooperation between our two navies,” Minister Pyne said.
“As we are developing a sovereign Australian naval shipbuilding industry it is crucial we seize opportunities like this to exchange expertise with other leading maritime states.
“As we embark on the $35 billion Future Frigate program to build nine anti-submarine warfare frigates in Australia, seeing the full capabilities of all nations helps inform the Australian Defence Force and our industry partners.
“Construction on the nine frigates will start in Adelaide in 2020, creating more than 2000 jobs in South Australia and bringing economic benefits that will spread across the nation for decades to come.”
As part of her Australian tour, Sutherland has visited Fremantle and Adelaide, and will now proceed to Sydney for exercises with the Royal Australian Navy.
Sutherland is a Type 23 anti-submarine warfare frigate, an earlier version of the Type 26 being proposed by BAE Systems for Australia’s Future Frigate program.
Fincantieri and Navantia are also participating in the Competitive Evaluation Process for the Future Frigate Program.