The three foreign shipbuilders in the running to build Australia's new frigates have officially submitted their bids and are now playing the waiting game.
The UK's BAE Systems with its Type 26, Fincantieri of Italy with its FREMM and Navantia of Spain with an updated F100 are vying for the $30 billion Future Frigate program contract.
The new frigates will replace the Anzac-class from the mid-2020s, in a project that will create more than 2000 jobs.
Defence department officials told a Senate estimates hearing the winner will be announced before mid-year.
Official Kim Gillis said he was comfortable the three bidders were offering Australia sovereignty and intellectual property.
"We will probably get an outcome that is better than we've seen in the past," he told the hearing.
Production is scheduled to start from 2020 at the federal government-owned shipyard in Osborne, South Australia.