Australia's Hunter Class Frigates Case Studies

Air Warfare Destroyer


The Royal Australian Navy sought an advanced, flexible and capable class of ships to replace its current Adelaide-class frigates in defence of Australia. The primary role of these new warships is to provide air defence to Australian naval task forces and forces ashore. To effectively pace evolving threats, the combat system on these destroyers must be agile. It must be innovative. And it must be proven.


The Australian Defence Force needed a state-of-the-art combat system to provide a significant increase in security than what is currently provided by its aging fleet. These ships must be capable of:

  • Detecting and engaging aircraft at extended ranges and protecting deployed forces from air and missile attack.
  • Ensuring Australia's amphibious and support ships can operate with 24-hour air defence, as well as support land forces in coastal areas and aircraft operations.
  • Delivering anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities.


Enter Aegis. The Hobart-class ships are Australia’s first warships equipped with the Aegis Combat System. When paired with the Mk 41 Vertical Launching System, it is capable of delivering missiles for every required mission and threat environment. Hobart and her sister ships, Brisbane and Sydney, will receive Aegis Baseline 8, which integrates commercial-off-the-shelf technology and open architecture into the combat system.

Through the integration of the Aegis system with the other Hobart-class elements, the SEA 4000 program will upgrade Australia's surface maritime defence fleet with the most advanced and complex warships ever built and integrated in Australia, delivering proven defence and warfighting capabilities.

Australia joins a global Aegis fleet— Hobart marks the 107th ship and the sixth Allied nation (Australia, Japan, Spain, Norway, Republic of Korea and U.S.) to benefit from Aegis capabilities.

Creating a Sustainable Australian Workforce


Lockheed Martin is seeking to support the Australian government in laying the foundation for an Australian-wide naval shipbuilding enterprise, providing certainty to local industry and shipbuilding workers, maximising Australian industry involvement, and ensuring a local defence capability to be maintained by generations to come.


The key enablers to implement the Government’s plan are:

  • A modern, innovative and secure naval shipbuilding infrastructure
  • Workforce growth and development
  • Sustainable and cost-competitive Australian industrial base 
  • A national collaborative approach


Through the continuous building of naval vessels in Australia, while also focusing on strengthening the nation’s advanced manufacturing industrial base, Lockheed Martin supports the Australian government’s commitment to both national security and economic prosperity.

The Aegis Weapon System is the world’s most advanced, lethal and technologically evolved maritime combat system. An Aegis Weapon System selection for the Future Frigate program would provide Australia with an extremely capable, low risk, cost efficient solution that can leverage commonality with the Hobart class destroyer to reduce initial acquisition and integrated logistics support. By integrating Aegis into the Future Frigates, significant partnerships throughout the Australian industry will continue to be built upon. 

Advantages for Australia include:

  • Combat system integration led by and performed by Australian industry
  • Integration of subsystems such as sensors, weapons and communications equipment performed by Australian industry through the Australian interface
  • Development of new capabilities performed by Australian industry through the Australian interface
  • Installation and sustainment of RAN Aegis equipped ships performed by Australian industry
  • Manufacturing of Aegis equipment such as consoles and equipment racks performed by Australian industry 
  • Support of local companies to export equipment through Lockheed Martin’s global supply chain network
  • Development of Australian expertise in electromagnetic compatibility design, human factors engineering, safety engineering, security, integrated logistics support and training

The future of Australia’s naval shipbuilding workforce is looking bright.  Increased investment in modern shipbuilding facilities, as well as the establishment of the Naval Shipbuilding College, will result in a sustainable and certain future for Australia’s defence and advanced manufacturing industry. An Aegis solution enables seamless, joint, and combined operations between Australia and the United States while providing opportunities to grow the Australian maintenance, sustainment, and training workforce.

Lockheed Martin Australia stands ready to partner with the Australian government to achieve the outcomes set out by Australia’s Naval Ship Building Plan.