The $45 billion Future Frigates program is the latest Defence procurement to be added to the Projects of Interest list which identifies projects facing significant risks to schedule, capability and budget.
Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Quarterly Performance Report for March 2020 – obtained by the Opposition under Freedom of Information – revealed the frigates have been added due to their strategic importance and cost and schedule risks.
This comes as the principal engineer on the frigate program has quit reportedly out of frustration.
The Future Frigates project is the second largest defence procurement Australia has ever attempted.
It’s extremely concerning that it’s already experiencing significant issues resulting in it being added to the Projects of Interest list.
This is being done not just due to the size and complexity of the project, but because there are early warning signs of trouble including weight increases, delays in the design and communication issues between the UK and Australia.
The Coalition Government’s handling of this program is just another example of their mismanagement of critical Defence projects like the Future Submarine Program which is running 10 years late and has seen a cost blowout of $39 billion.
If the Government repeats this mismanagement with the Future Frigates project, we could see more cost blowouts, schedule overruns and the Navy ultimately not getting the capabilities they need.