The manufacture of a proof-of-concept mast designed to carry surveillance radars and other sensors on board Australia’s Hunter class frigates is now underway.
BAE Systems Australia’s shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia, has begun manufacturing the aluminium mast, the first of the type which will ultimately feature Australian manufactured L-Band high power active phase array radar.
The new CEA Technologies’ CEAFAR and CEAMOUNT phased array radars are becoming standard on Australian naval ships, however the Hunter’s mast will be the largest yet constructed.
While the Hunter class frigates are being built at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide, BAE’s Henderson team have manufactured eight different types of jigs, which are purpose-built constructions that support the different components of the mast during the manufacturing process.
After completion of the jigs, the proof-of-concept mast will begin construction in early 2024.
Each Hunter class frigate is made up of 22 blocks, or sections, and 21 of these will be constructed at Osborne, while the remaining one – the mast – planned to be manufactured at Henderson and then shipped to Osborne for installation.
Sustainment Director for BAE Systems Australia – Maritime Greg Laxton, said:
“Our years of sustaining and upgrading the Anzac class has built up a wealth of knowledge at Henderson in mast-building, and the application of this expertise on the Hunter program is a great example of BAE Systems Australia being able to leverage capability across multiple sites.
“Our people are key to the success of our programmes, and the collaboration across different functions, and in different states, is a testament to the specialised skills our people have.
“This is a great example of our Continuous Naval Shipbuilding strategy in action – we are sharing work across multiple sites to support jobs and growth in different states, as well as minimising risk.”
Picture: BAE Systems Australia/HMAS Ballarat is fitted with a new mast at Henderson, Western Australia