Australia's new fleet of anti-submarine warships will ensure it has one of the most powerful navies in the Indo-Pacific region, Christopher Pyne says.
The defence industry minister met British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson for talks in London on Tuesday, following last month's announcement that Britain's BAE Systems had won the tender for nine Hunter-class frigates to be built in South Australia.
Mr Pyne said there was enormous good will on both sides about ensuring the project was a success, and that it would drive jobs, sophisticated and advanced manufacturing, and research and development.
Most important was the impact the frigates would have on Australia's naval capability, he said.
"We'll have one of the most potent anti-submarine warfare fleets in the Indo Pacific," Mr Pyne said.
"In the event that we have a situation where we need to defend Australia's national interests and defence interests, the anti-sub warfare frigate, the submarines, the future submarines and the warfare destroyers...they will be very much at the front edge of the defence of our nation."
The frigates are expected to begin entering service in the late 2020s and will replace the ageing Anzac-class frigates.
Over the next 10 years, Australia is set to undertake the largest build-up of its military capability in peacetime history.
"We're doing that because what's very obvious is that we live in a much more unstable region and world than we have lived in for several decades," Mr Pyne said.
He added that by 2030, 50 per cent of the world's submarines will be operating in the Indo-Pacific region.
"Hence we're investing in anti-submarine warfare frigates."
The minister noted there were obvious synergies between Australia and the UK, and said that making sure the countries' navies were as inter-operable as possible with those in the US was a high priority.
Australian Associated Press