Britain has launched a bid to build Australia's new $35 billion fleet of warships.
British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has assured that if the bid succeeds, the nine vessels would be built primarily in Australia by Australian labourers. He also said that the frigates he proposes are suitable to hunt “Russian and Chinese submarines."
Britain, Spain and Italy are in fray for the multi-billion dollar tender to replace the Anzac Class frigates by the late 2020s, Hurriyet Daily News reported Wednesday quoting an AFP despatch.
Secretary Fallon and UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will attend a summit in Sydney today with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne. This is Mr Johnson's first tour since of Australia since last year's Brexit election.
The winner of the contract for the new ships is expected to be announced next year.
Three designers are vying for the massive contract - Britain’s BAE Systems, Italy’s Fincantieri and Spain’s Navantia - which is described by Canberra as currently the largest frigate shipbuilding program of its kind.
“You need in a region that is now as unstable and tense as it is, as you’ve decided, some anti-submarine hunting capability and the very latest capability,” Fallon added.
“The quietness of the ship, and the sophistication of the technology on it, puts it way ahead of any European offer you might be considering,” said Fallon.