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New Australian Hunter class frigates will be fitted with Chess Dynamics.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to a PR published by Chess Dynamics on April 4, 2024, has secured a contract to deliver its SeaEagle FCEO surveillance systems for the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) new Hunter class frigates, being constructed under the guidance of BAE Systems Maritime Australia.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of the future Hunter class frigate and and the SeaEagle FCEO surveillance system. (Picture source: BAE Systems and Chess Dynamics)

These systems are poised to enhance the RAN's capabilities in monitoring, tracking, and identifying both surface and aerial threats. This technology aims to streamline operations by offering precise tracking information, thus aiding in the passive coordination of the frigates' weaponry.

The SeaEagle FCEO, already a choice for various international naval projects including the UK Royal Navy's Type 26 Global Combat Ship — the basis for the Hunter class design — comes equipped with cutting-edge optical technology. This includes a sophisticated daylight camera, a high-resolution infrared camera, and an eye-safe laser rangefinder, complemented by an advanced software suite for a comprehensive maritime situational analysis.

The integration of the SeaEagle FCEO into the Hunter class frigates is anticipated to provide the RAN with a unified, user-friendly interface for combat management. Its capacity for information sharing with other fleet elements is expected to significantly enhance maritime awareness and operational efficiency across the RAN.

About the Hunter class frigates

The ship has a full load displacement of 8,800 tons and measures 149.9 meters in length with a beam of 20.8 meters. It utilizes a CODLOG configuration for propulsion, comprising one Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine, four MTU Type 20V 4000 M53B high-speed diesel generators, and two electric motors, allowing it to achieve speeds over 27 knots. Its operational range is 7,000 nautical miles when powered by electric motors. The vessel has accommodations for 180 personnel, with capacity for an additional 28.

In terms of command and control, the vessel is equipped with the Aegis combat system and the Saab 9LV tactical interface. Surveillance capabilities are supported by the CEA Technologies CEAFAR2 phased array radar. The underwater warfare systems include the Ultra S2150 hull-mounted sonar and Thales Sonar 2087 towed array and variable depth sonar.

The armament suite includes two sets of 4-canister launchers for advanced anti-ship missiles, a 32-cell Mark 41 Vertical Launch System compatible with RIM-66 Standard 2 and RIM-162 ESSM missiles, MU90 Impact torpedoes, one 5-inch 54 calibre Mark 45 Mod 4 dual-purpose gun, two 30mm short-range gun systems, and two 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems.

For aviation, the ship is equipped with a large flight deck capable of accommodating Chinook helicopters, an enclosed hangar, and facilities for unmanned aerial vehicles. It can deploy one MH-60R ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopter, outfitted with Mk 54 MAKO Torpedoes and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.

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