SHIPBUILDERS in the UK and Australia could work together on the design of the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 frigates.
It comes as defence secretary Philip Hammond has signed a new defence treaty with the Commonwealth nation yesterday.
With both the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy due to have new frigates built in the coming years, the government has agreed to look into the option of carrying out mutual design work on the warships.
Both of Portsmouth’s MPs think the collaboration would be a good idea.
Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said: ‘It would be good news.
‘It would be even better news if the Australians would let us build it for them.
‘I hope the Ministry of Defence will put as much pressure on to try and keep the work in this country.
‘I hope for once the MoD gets it right and does whatever it can to do the work in this country. It’s a good idea.’
And Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt added: ‘The treaty is good news.
‘Australia is a key defence partner and this new level of co-operation is good for our exports of ships, kit, training and services which in turn is good news for Portsmouth.’
During the defence secretary’s visit to Australia yesterday, he saw the Australian Naval Base and the BAE Systems shipyard in Perth.
Mr Hammond was there with foreign secretary William Hague at the annual Australia/UK Ministerial summit.
The Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Global Combat Ships will replace the service’s current 13 Type 23 frigates from 2020 onwards. No decision has yet been made on where they will based.
The Type 26s will be used by the navy in combat and counter-piracy operations and to support humanitarian and disaster relief operations around the world.
Mr Hammond said: ‘In times of budget pressures for all nations, it makes sense to maximise economies of scale and work with our friends to get the best value for money on all sides.’