BAE Systems Australia has declared it will “transform Australia’s shipbuilding industry” through the development of a digital shipyard in Adelaide, if selected to build nine Future Frigates for Australia.
The company will facilitate the transfer of intellectual property to Australia, and technical data, including the digital ship design optimised for the production of the Global Combat Ship Australia, together with all naval shipbuilding processes tailored to the requirements of the Adelaide Shipyard.
The design authority transfer will start in 2018, leveraging an investment of more than A$1.5 billion in design and engineering effort to date to develop the world’s most advanced warship.
To support the transfer, A$100 million will be invested in an information and technology system to digitise the shipyard.
“Digitisation enables a significant step change across every element of a traditional ship design and build program,” said BAE Systems CEO Glynn Phillips.
“Our investment will ensure that everyone on the program has access to information that will save time and money and facilitate greater innovation in our supply chain. This innovation could lead to export opportunities for Australian businesses on a 17 ship production program, given the Type 26 construction already underway in the UK.
“Having a single point of truth in the design phase will mean that each of the nine ships will be replicated, which hasn’t been done in Australia previously and which will benefit every stage of the program including the upgrading and maintenance of the ships during service.”
The digital shipyard will ensure that every aspect of the ship during the design and build and throughout its service life is live and accessible to the crew as well as all those involved in the maintenance and upgrades of the fleet and approved suppliers.
People will be connected in their place of work to assured, readily understandable information and processes to evidence-based working in real-time.
Intelligent systems on board and linked to those ashore will monitor the performance of the ship and its systems allowing ship’s staff to focus on the right tasks and ensuring that the right parts and specialist help are available before they are needed.
The digital shipyard will include an inventory of parts, including cost and acoustic signature, suppliers and their details, providing Australian industry the opportunity to improve upon all parts and systems used in the construction of the Global Combat Ship.
“It will also be the first time in Australia, where a ship’s systems will have the ‘intelligence’ to report on its own performance and maintenance needs and have the ability to order both the maintenance and parts required prior to docking,” Phillips continued.
“Alongside the world class shipbuilding facility the Australian Government is developing, the digital shipyard will ensure that a sustainable naval shipbuilding industry is created that will contribute to the nation’s security and long-term prosperity.”