BAE Systems Australia welcomed Prime Minister Scott Morrison MP to the Osborne South Naval Shipyard today to mark the important progress that has been achieved towards delivering a sovereign and continuous naval shipbuilding industry.
BAE Systems’ subsidiary ASC Shipbuilding is now in the final stages of the formal handover of the yard from Australian Naval Infrastructure of what will be one of the world’s most modern naval shipyards, a key enabler of Australia’s continuous naval shipbuilding strategy.
The Hunter Class Frigate program will deliver nine anti-submarine warfare frigates to the Royal Australian Navy, using a digital environment for the design and build of the ships made possible at the new shipyard and the company is now rapidly mobilising its people to work from the site.
The company also announced that it has been given the green light to commence prototyping in December 2020 as planned, following the Prototyping Readiness Review, a formal review with Defence. The Review assessed the Hunter program’s preparedness to commence prototyping across a range of areas including safety, quality production inputs, processes, tools, workforce and facilities.
These competencies will be extensively tested and refined during the prototyping phase before construction begins on the first Hunter class frigate in 2022.
The milestone builds on the significant momentum the program has made this year, including:
- Growing the workforce to nearly 1,000, including the first intake of apprentices
- Signing the overarching licence for the new, state-of-the-art shipyard at Osborne
- Placing contracts with Australian businesses for materials and services to support prototyping.
“The Hunter class frigate program is significant to both the defence of the nation, and the contribution it will make to the Australian economy,” BAE Systems Australia CEO Gabby Costigan said. “Today’s visit by the Prime Minister was important in demonstrating how despite the challenging environment we are working in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, work on Hunter has not stopped.”
“We now have the go-ahead to proceed towards cut steel on the prototyping phase of Hunter, and this will proceed in December, as planned, allowing us to continue to hire more Australians and sign contracts with more Australian businesses,” ASC Shipbuilding managing director Craig Lockhart said.
“I am extremely pleased we have been given the green light to proceed with prototyping, which we will close out in the coming weeks and months ahead of going live in December 2020 as planned.
“The outcome of this week’s review reflects the outstanding work carried out by the entire ASC Shipbuilding team and close collaboration with the Commonwealth – and I am grateful for everyone’s efforts. The Hunter program is a true collaboration between us, as prime, government and industry.
“Over the coming weeks and months, ASC Shipbuilding will continue to work closely with the Commonwealth and Australian Naval Infrastructure to accept and commission the buildings in readiness for prototyping cut steel in December.”