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Australia releases blueprint for expanded naval surface fleet

20th February 2024 - 11:30 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Christchurch


A batch of nine Hunter-class frigates has been cut to six vessels by the Enhanced Lethality Surface Combatant Fleet review. (Photo: BAE Systems)

The much-anticipated Enhanced Lethality Surface Combatant Fleet review has allocated billions of dollars towards enhancing the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet.

Australian has released its long-awaited Enhanced Lethality Surface Combatant Fleet review. Emphasising firepower and increased hull numbers, the independent review’s recommendations will generate the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) largest surface warship fleet since WWII.

Ending months of speculation, the 24-page document appeared on 20 February, 10 months after the Defence Strategic Review.

Australia defence minister Richard Marles claimed the plan was “fully funded”. In addition to billions already budgeted for surface warships over the next decade, another A$11.1 billion (US$7.2 billion) will be allocated, and the government claimed defence spending would reach 2.4% of GDP by the 2030s.


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Gordon Arthur


Gordon Arthur

Gordon Arthur was the Asia Pacific editor for Shephard Media. Born in Scotland and educated …

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