The Hunter-class Frigate Program has provided a procurement update for Australian suppliers on how to get involved in the prototyping phase of the project, which will begin in 2020.

Representatives of 150 businesses from around the country converged in Adelaide on June 25 for the update targeting Australian category C and D businesses that supply minor equipment, material and services on how to bid for the first tranche of work, worth an estimated $20 million.

Two new packages will soon be released that target businesses supplying fibreglass piping and metallic pipes and fittings.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said Australian small and medium businesses had an excellent opportunity to get involved in the defence industry.

“More than 800 businesses across Australia and several in New Zealand have already pre-qualified through the Industry Capability Network Gateway to work on the Hunter program,” Ms Price said.

“These procurement updates are very important for maximising Australian industry’s involvement in the construction of the nine anti-submarine warfare frigates for the Royal Australian Navy.

“Events like these help ensure that job opportunities are being created across the country.”

The Hunter-class Frigate Program will form the foundation of the government’s ‘continuous-build’ program and open up new opportunities for Australian small and medium businesses in the supply chain.

“These nine anti-submarine warfare frigates will rely on a highly capable defence industry and Australian Defence Force,” Ms Price said.

“The program will create about 4000 jobs right around Australia and ensure we have a long and prosperous future ahead for our shipbuilding industry.”

During the prototyping phase, the Hunter program will build five prototyping blocks. Category C and D suppliers will provide equipment such as scaffolding, steel for the blocks, pipes, cables, outfitting, blast and paint, deck coverings and insulation.

Businesses that would like to register their interest in the Hunter-class Frigate Program should access the Industry Capability Network at https://icn.org.au/