Australia says work on nine advanced frigates will start within five years, three years earlier than expected
The HMAS Hobart at its launch in Adelaide in May; Australia plans a major naval buildup.PHOTO: AWD ALLIANCE/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
By Rob Taylor
The Wall Street Journal
CANBERRA, Australia—Australia will accelerate construction of a fleet of warships as part of an ambitious buildup meant to more closely integrate its military with the U.S. and respond to instability in Asia.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday said his conservative government would start work on a 20 billion Australia dollar (US$14.6 billion) fleet of nine advanced frigates within five years—three years earlier than expected—while also beginning construction of 20 large offshore combat vessels.
“This is about ensuring that we have a strong surface fleet to deal with whatever naval contingencies we face indefinitely, forever in fact,” Mr. Abbott told reporters. “This…