The Prime Minister Scott Morrison toured the Osborne naval shipyard on Saturday as defence business BAE Systems Australia was given the formal go-ahead to begin prototyping work on Australia’s new Hunter class frigates.
BAE Systems’ subsidiary ASC Shipbuilding is in the process of taking over the expanded shipyard on the Port River in Adelaide where it will construct nine anti-submarine warfare frigates for the Royal Australian Navy.
Morrison toured the ultra-modern shipyard constructed for Australian Naval Infrastructure which will feature a fully digital manufacturing environment.
ANI is now constructing a new yard for submarine construction to the north of ASC Shipbuilding.
BAE Systems also announced that it had been given the green light to begin prototyping in December 2020 as planned, following a Prototyping Readiness Review by Defence.
The Review assessed the Hunter programme’s preparedness for prototyping across safety, quality production inputs, processes, tools, workforce and facilities.
ASC has already been progressing the frigate build 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.
In August BAE Systems contracted MG Engineering to build four ship “mini blocks” to be used to test leading edge manufacturing techniques.
BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Officer Gabby Costigan said the Prime Minister’s visit was important in demonstrating how, despite Covid-19, work on Hunter has not stopped.
She said: “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.”
Picture: BAE Systems/Scott Morrison at Osborne shipyard
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