Hunter class commission new era for Navy’s future force

Published on CMDR Fenn Kemp (author), ABIS James McDougall (photographer)

Topic(s): Hunter Class (FFG)

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN; Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP; and Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon. Christopher Pyne, MP, at the announcement of nine Hunter Class Future Frigates in Adelaide, SA. (photo: ABIS James McDougall)
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN; Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP; and Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon. Christopher Pyne, MP, at the announcement of nine Hunter Class Future Frigates in Adelaide, SA.

Navy’s future frigates will be known as ‘Hunter Class’ with the Chief of Navy confirming the first of the Hunter Class Guided Missile Frigates (FFG) to be commissioned in the late 2020s. 

In a signal to all Navy personnel, Vice Admiral Barrett said class name was chosen to reflect the tradition of naming RAN ships that promote Navy’s bond with the Nation. In this case, the first three ships of the Hunter class will proudly carry the names of three major Australian regions, all with strong historical maritime and naval ties.

The first batch of three will be named HMA Ships Flinders (II) (SA region named for explorer Captain Matthew Flinders - first circumnavigation of Australia and identified it as a continent); Hunter (NSW region named for Vice-Admiral John Hunter – first fleet Captain and 2nd Governor of NSW); and Tasman (state and sea named for explorer Abel Tasman – first known European explorer to reach Tasmania, New Zealand and Fiji).

The class name was specifically chosen for the alternate interpretation of a ‘hunter’ personifying the role of the frigates as a submarine hunter, with the term embodying the pursuit of prey. 

"The replacement of our eight Anzac Class Frigates with nine frigates optimised for anti-submarine warfare…will significantly enhance the lethality of our surface combatant capabilities," CN said.

"These ships will incorporate world class design factors and integrated systems…that will change the way we conduct anti-submarine warfare operations. Our interoperability as a joint force and with our allies will improve."

As a result of the construction and delivery drumbeat, the Anzac Class frigates currently in operation will be in service through to the early 2040s. CN said the future frigate announcement is a game changer for Navy, the ADF and defence industry. "Beyond the frigate design, this decision demonstrates that Navy is an intrinsic national capability that connects the private and public sectors to deliver a fundamental national objective – security above, on and under the sea."