25 Januari 2010
Anzac class frigate, will be replaced in the 2020 (photo : DefenseIndustryDaily)
The UK and Australia have opened a government-to-government dialogue to explore the potential for co-operation on their respective frigate and minor war vessel replacement programmes.
Information exchanges are expected to continue around the Pacific 2010 conference and exhibition, running in Sydney from 27-29 January. The UK has also engaged with its counterparts in New Zealand with regard to its ANZAC frigate replacement plans.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is expected to announce in February the start of a four-year assessment phase for the Future Surface Combatant (FSC) C1 variant.
Under a separate funding line, concept phase activities for a Future Mine Countermeasures/Hydrographic/Patrol Vessel (FMHPV), previously identified as FSC C3, are expected to commence in April 2010.
Meanwhile Australia's Defence White Paper (DWP), released in May 2009, laid out plans for a new class of eight Future Frigates to succeed the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) current ANZAC-class vessels one-for-one in the post-2020 timeframe.
A separate programme, Project SEA 1180, plans to rationalise the RAN's existing patrol boat, mine countermeasures, hydrographic and oceanographic forces into a single modular offshore combatant vessel class.
Commodore Steve Brunton, the UK MoD's Head of Above Water Capability, told Jane's: "Our timescales are slightly different ... at this stage we are just informing each other by talking within a wider scoped information exchange agreement. Where this leads to will be dictated by agreeing mutual benefit and interest."