This audit would assess the effectiveness of the Department of Defence’s (Defence’s) administration of the Hunter class frigate program, including the value for money of Defence’s acquisition of Hunter class frigates, and planning for construction and entry into service.

In June 2018, the Australian Government announced the acquisition of nine Hunter class frigates to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s existing Anzac class frigates. The Hunter class is based on the BAE Systems Type 26 design, and will be built at the Osborne shipyard in South Australia, with the first-of-class expected to enter service in the late 2020s. The acquisition cost of the Hunter class frigates is approximately $35 billion.

In addition to providing capability to the Royal Australian Navy, the acquisition of the Hunter class frigates is an integral part of the Australian Government’s 2017 Naval Shipbuilding Plan, which seeks to create a viable and sustainable Australian naval shipbuilding industry, based on a continuous build of naval surface ships and submarines.