Australia’s minister for defence industry visited a Spanish Navy frigate downselected for the Future Frigate programme on Friday to inspect the capabilities of the ship.
Minister Christopher Pyne went aboard the F-100 frigate ESPS Cristobal Colon for a tour of the ship and an update on the progress of mutual training being conducted with the Royal Australian Navy.
“The Cristobal Colon is a highly capable vessel and demonstrates the kind of capability that Navantia are offering in the Future Frigate project,” Minister Pyne said.
The Aegis-equipped Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate is currently on a 120-day deployment to Australia where she is helping to train future Australian Hobart-class destroyer sailors under an agreement between the two navies.
“Navantia was instrumental in turning around the Air Warfare Destroyer programme in Australia, taking the Osborne shipyard to internationally competitive standards,” Pyne said.
“Navantia’s ability to run shipyards, Australia’s long relationship with Spain and the capability of ships like the Cristobal Coban are among the reasons Navantia were downselected for Australia’s Future Frigate programme.”
Construction of Future Frigates is expected to start in 2020 once the government selects a frigate design. British BAE Systems and Italian Navantia are the other two design contenders.