ASPI’s Dr Hellyer states that in his opinion, the cancellation of the Attack Class submarine project provides an opportunity to quickly acquire more naval firepower through building more of the proven and capable Hobart Class destroyers.



Australia’s nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) are unlikely to arrive before the late 2030s and Hunter Class Frigates after 2033 leaving a dangerous capability gap. Dr Hellyer argues that Australia should build more Hobart-class air warfare destroyers for the following reasons:

  • It can be brought online relatively quickly. 

  • Cheaper than the Hunter Class as the design and expertise are already well developed.

  • Builds and keeps the workforce and industrial capacity for long-term ship and submarine plans.

  • We already have modern digital shipyards to produce them.

  • Utilises existing government planned funding.

  • Reduces the gap from Hunter-class delays.

  • Improves firepower- Hunter’s only carry 32 (Hobart’s 48) missile cells and a few Tomahawk strike missiles.

  • Existing Anzac frigates have only eight missile cells and will be around till the 2040s.

  • Attack-class submarine industrial capability and continuous naval shipbuilding would be utilised.

  • Australia no longer has ten years+ of warning time for major conflict. 

  • Skills and personnel developed with more Hobart Class would be transferable to SSN production.

  • Allows the fleet to grow faster.

Dr Hellyer also supports:

  • Adding missiles to the Offshore Patrol Vessels under construction

  • Investing in the ‘small, smart and cheap’—disaggregated uncrewed or minimally crewed systems.