February 20, 2024

Austal welcomes the findings of the Surface Fleet Review


21 FEBRUARY 2024


Austal welcomes the findings of the Surface Fleet Review and the Australian Government ’s response to it.

It provides a very clear pathway to increase the Royal Australian Navy’s vessel capability in areas of strategic importance.

It is now up to shipbuilders such as Austal to collaborate on the design, and lead the construction of vessels that provide the capabilities that the Surface Fleet Review (SFR) has identified as crucial to protect our national interests.

Austal, and our expert shipbuilding workforce stand ready to build the Tier Two vessels, such as the General Purpose Frigates and Optionally Crewed Vessels, required by the SFR, and will work closely with the Australian Government and the Navy on the designs they choose to fulfil this task.

The Heads of Agreement signed with the Commonwealth of Australia in November 2023 to establish a Strategic Shipbuilding Agreement, if ultimately signed, will establish Austal as the Commonwealth’s strategic shipbuilder at Henderson, Western Australia, for all Tier Two vessels.

Austal is also committed to supporting the local SME defence supplier community and utilising the considerable capability and capacity these specialist suppliers provide.

The Australian Government has assigned the following programs to be built at Henderson:
- Landing Craft Medium and Heavy for the Australian Army
- Eight General Purpose Frigates
- Six Large Optionally Crewed Surface Vessels
- Continuation of Austal’s Evolved Cape-Class Patrol Boat program (announced when the Strategic Shipbuilding Alliance Heads of Agreement was signed)

Austal has significant experience in optionally crewed vessels. Approximately twelve months ago, Austal USA delivered the largest autonomous capable surface ship in the US Navy, USNS Apalachicola (EPF 13); and last month Austal launched the US Navy’s newest Overlord Unmanned Surface Vessel “Vanguard” (OUSV3).

Vanguard is the first Unmanned Surface Vessel purpose-built for US Navy autonomous operations from the keel-up.

In addition, Austal Australia has been trialling uncrewed operations on a former Armidale-class Patrol Boat, now named Sentinel, as part of the Patrol Boat Autonomy Trial for the Royal Australian Navy, with Trusted Autonomous Systems and Greenroom Robotics.

The Enhanced Lethality Surface Combatant Fleet Report - an independent analysis of Navy's surface combatant fleet is available for download from the Department of defence website -


Media contact:

Cameron Morse, FTI Consulting

+61 0433 886 871


Further Information

Contact: Austal
Phone: 61 8 9410 1111
Fax: 61 8 9410 2564