In yet another example of collaborations between multinational companies bidding for defence projects and the Australian universities, BAE Systems Australia, one of three companies bidding to build nine Anti-Submarine Warships for the Royal Australian Navy, has signed an agreement with the Flinders University.
The new agreement will see students and industry working together to develop new ways to provide Australia’s defence force with the evolving capability it needs and train the shipbuilding workforce of the future.
As part of the new agreement with the BAE Systems Australia, Flinders University will receive access to BAE Systems’ digital shipbuilding tools, processes and methodologies and turn these into development programs to train the people who will build the Future Frigates and integrate the ships’ complex operating systems if the company is successful in its SEA 5000 bid.
Collaboration in research and development will have an emphasis on autonomous underwater vehicles, a future technology that could greatly enhance Australia’s capability to detect and deter submarines.
In the UK, BAE Systems collaborates with Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, directly supporting automation and the exchange of advanced manufacturing technologies. Through this relationship, Flinders University and Sheffield University will be able to share information and best practice on successful training applications, research and development and identify areas of mutual interest.
The first project under this agreement will be focused on advanced manufacturing components for the Joint Strike Fighter, which will help to inform future applications on other defence programs.
BAE Systems is offering its Global Combat Ship-Australia for SEA 5000, a variant of the Type 26 Anti-Submarine Warship that is currently being manufactured in the UK.
The other two bidders competing for the Federal Government’s $35 billion SEA 5000 project, Fincantieri and Navantia, have also announced plans to engage with the Australian universities.
Earlier this week, Fincantieri Australia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Adelaide to develop a collaborative program of education and research co-operation. Navantia Australia has also announced plans to establish a $3 million Centre of Excellence in collaboration with Flinders University in Adelaide if it is selected to build the Royal Australian Navy’s Future Frigates.