Australian Navy to Double in Size by Constructing Smaller Vessels

Australia has plans to double its current fleet size, effectively building the biggest fleet since World War II, Minister for Defense Richard Marles announced in Sydney on February 20th. The decision comes as part of the Australian government’s response to the surface fleet review the navy commissioned last year.

The Royal Australian Navy will build 17 new “Tier 2” warships, consisting of 11 Guided Missile Frigates and will be capable of performing air-defense, lank-strike, and escort missions with an “optional crew” capability.

The Tier 1 fleet will be made up of six Hunter-class frigates and three Hobart-class air warfare destroyers. Australia will also build 25 minor vessels, consisting of 19 Evolved Cape-Class patrol boats and six Arafura-class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV).

The Australian government plans to pay for the increase by reducing the number of vessels it will purchase. For example, instead of nine Hunter-class frigates, the number of Hunter-class frigates was lowered to six, and the number of Arafura OPVs was cut to six from twelve.