Navantia Australia’s F-5000: Australia’s Future Frigate, Australia’s Future Industry

7 August 2017

Navantia Australia has submitted its response to the Commonwealth’s Request for Tender for the SEA5000 Future Frigate program with a comprehensive plan for a leading edge anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessel and Australia’s continuous shipbuilding industry.

The F-5000, an evolution of the soon to be commissioned Navantia designed Hobart Class destroyer, will be designed locally to meet specific requirements of the Royal Australian Navy, and built in Adelaide using expertise, experience and equipment from Australia.

With capabilities based on the Hobart Class, the F-5000 also incorporates lessons learnt from the operational requirements of the Navantia designed and built Norwegian F-310 ASW frigate. The F-5000 will be the most advanced ASW vessel in the Navy’s arsenal, with an underwater sensor suite including the Hobart Class’ world-leading Ultra hull mounted sonar and towed array sonar, a persistent towed decoy and acoustic countermeasures, improved signature management and hydrodynamic hull form, and propeller optimisation, and machinery noise dampening technology.

The F-5000 will also provide operational flexibility and force multiplication by incorporating 48 strike length missile cells, a Mk45 5” gun, an advanced above water sensor suite, a torpedo self-defence system and integration of the MH60-R submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter and UAV featured in the F-5000’s design.  

Offering the Royal Australian Navy unparalleled interoperability across the fleet, the F-5000 is also designed from a platform which is already able to integrate with Australia’s key allies. By incorporating the Navantia-SAGE Automation Group’s Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), which will already be operated by 1,500 men and women of the Navy across seven existing naval capabilities, additional training requirements will be reduced and the Adelaide based SAGE Automation will continue to grow as a key input to capability.

One of the keys to delivering the F-5000 on time and on budget is the minimum design change philosophy which Navantia Australia can offer with a proven, modern, low risk design. By using the Hobart Class destroyer as a reference ship, and drawing on previous Commonwealth investment, Navantia Australia will deliver savings through utilising existing local design and build expertise and efficiency by building on the 1,000,000 engineering hours undertaken to ensure the Hobart Class meets unique Australian standards.

Navantia Australia’s Donato Martínez says the supremacy of the F-5000 will be achieved by drawing on a range of factors.

“Navantia’s experience providing enhanced ASW capability internationally, as well as our experience working alongside Navy every step of the way to deliver capabilities such as the Canberra Class LHDs, landing craft and Hobart Class destroyers puts Navantia Australia in the best position to ensure the F-5000 is the most advanced ASW platform that will meet Australia’s unique needs.”

“By using an in service Australian ship as our reference to build the F-5000, we will be ensuring that Australia’s future ASW frigate is able to seamlessly integrate into the RAN’s fleet and provide the savings through economies of scale for training, maintenance and supply support.” Mr Martínez said.

Navantia Australia board member Warren King says that by building the F-5000 the next stage in growing a sovereign shipbuilding industry in Australia will have begun.

“When Navantia first partnered with the Commonwealth on the Hobart Class destroyer, we didn’t have a ship designer, and we didn’t have a shipyard. Now, over a decade since the partnership first began, Navantia Australia has developed the intimate customer knowledge, understanding of Australian industry capability and commitment to building Australia’s own shipbuilding industry.” Mr King concluded.