BAE Systems selects SA manufacturer for UK naval shipbuilding contract

South Australian company Airspeed has been selected by BAE Systems to support the Global Combat Ships program.

The program will build three ships in Glasgow, Scotland for the UK Royal Navy as part of the multi-billion-dollar UK Type 26 program.

The Type 26 frigate is the original model which led to the Hunter class frigate, also currently under development.

Airspeed specialises in the “design and build” of composite materials for aerospace, maritime and energy projects, and will in this case provide the replenishment sea stump mast for the Type 26 ships.

Airspeed is one of seven Australian companies that BAE Systems has selected to supply the Type 26 program.

The partnership between Airspeed and BAE systems was announced by Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds at the BAE Systems shipyard in Glasgow.

“I’m delighted that another home-grown company is able to benefit from the Type 26 program. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the UK Government and industry in both countries on further deepening our defence relationship,” said Reynolds.

ASC Shipbuilding is the BAE subsidiary that is delivering the Hunter class frigate program and links the Hunter program with the Global Combat Ships program.

“On the Hunter Program we are committed to engaging with the nation’s defence industry and discovering the world-class capability that Australian companies offer, and I am delighted seven local businesses are now supplying into the Type 26 program,” said managing director ASC Shipbuilding, Craig Lockhart.

For Airspeed, this latest contract is the evolution of their involvement in previous defence projects.

“In recent years, we have evolved our aerospace background to roll out lightweight structural composites for the Collins class submarines and local warship programs,” said managing director of Airspeed, Steve Barlow.

The involvement of Airspeed in the UK project is part of BAE Systems’ aim to maximise Australian industry involvement in projects around the world.

“Airspeed’s engagement with the UK Type 26 program was facilitated through BAE Systems’ Global Access Program (GAP), which helps Australian small to medium enterprises access worldwide opportunities by providing them an entry point into the company’s global supply chain,” said Lockhart.