Manufacturing News

Industry to sail on AWD’s success

AUSTRALIA’s existing defence capabilities, and Australia’s manufacturing industry, are set to receive a boost with the development of the Air Warfare Destroyers (AWD), replacing the aging Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) FFGs fleet.

Based on the pre-existing Spanish Armada, F100 design, the Hobart Class will incorporate an Australian Aegis combat system, comprising state of the art phased array radar, AN/ SPY 1D(V), in combination with the SM-2 missile, and will provide an advanced air defence system capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges in excess of 150km.

The $8bn AWD Program is said to be one of the largest and most complex Defence projects ever undertaken in Australia and a key objective of the project is to ensure that the benefits to local industry are maximised to enhance Australia’s strategic industrial base.

The program will be delivered by the AWD Alliance made up of the DMO, ASC as the shipbuilder and Raytheon Australia as the combat systems engineer.

The aim of the Alliance is to integrate Defence and industry and to break down the barriers between the two groups.

John Gallacher, CEO of the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance, says there are many opportunities for Australian companies to take part in the project.

“ There is a broad spectrum of involvement for local businesses, from the creation of shipyard facilities for manufacturing, assembly and launch and recovery of the ships with a $100m dollar upgrade of the ASC shipyard along with a $400m development by the SA state government in Techport SA already underway; to planning and procurement, design, project management as well as equipment supply and production,” Gallacher said.

“We expect there will be 1900 and a number of indirect positions available to local industry and we are looking at spending 55% or greater of our budget in Australia.”

In regards to the other 45%, Gallacher saidas specific pieces of equipment are only manufactured overseas – gas turbines, diesel engines, combat systems etc, and the fact theHobart Class AWDs, have been based on a pre existing design, these products will be sourced from already exiting supply chains.

However Gallacher believes the biggest opportunity for Australian manufacturers is in service and support of long term life of the ships.

“It’s important to note that even though these defence projects can have a very high capital value, these ships are designed to be operational for 35 years after development, so if local manufacturers can provide components or service support, there are many opportunities in the long term.”

“Defence is a tough business because standards are demanding and technical issues are complicated, but once you get involved you can have a very long life/ lot of work for a long time.”

The AWD Systems Centre, based in South Australia, has been established to manage the design schedule, budgets and work breakdown structures of the project, and is said to have already created hundreds of highly skilled jobs.

As well as housing the Alliance and ship designer, the Defence Science and Technology Organisation will also embed staff within the AWD Systems Centre to provide specialist support to the Program.

The Alliance will also work alongside the US Navy and Lockheed Martin to deliver the Aegis Combat System capability to the Hobart Class.

For more information about the Air Warfare Destroyer Program visit the website at

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