The Albanese Government has announced plans to revamp the Royal Australian Navy's capabilities amidst a nearly $20 billion cost overrun in the future frigate project. 

The firepower enhancement strategy is being pitched as a response to a critical juncture in Australia’s national defence planning.

The nation’s current fleet, comprising 11 surface combatants, is poised for a dramatic expansion to at least 22 vessels. This move aims to bolster Australia's maritime defence in the face of evolving security challenges. The government says its commitment to continuous shipbuilding in Adelaide and Perth demonstrates a long-term vision for the naval force.

The overhaul was spurred in part by the escalating costs of the Hunter-class frigate project, initially pegged at $30 billion but now estimated to soar to $65 billion. The government attributes this shortfall to its LNP predecessors.

To accommodate this fiscal pressure, the Albanese government plans to reduce the number of Hunter-class frigates while introducing smaller, missile-laden vessels and doubling the navy's surface combat fleet. 

Critics and strategic experts have voiced concerns about the timing and feasibility of these ambitious plans, emphasising the need for immediate enhancements to the navy's capabilities to counteract regional tensions and potential conflicts. 

The reduction in the number of offshore patrol vessels and the strategic focus on missile-capable ships mark a significant pivot in Australia's defence posture.

The government says it will spend $11.1 billion over the next decade on up to 26 new ships. More details are accessible here.