Steel cut for last test block for BAE Hunter Frigate program


The steel has been cut for the fifth and last prototype block for BAE Systems massive Hunter Class Frigate project.

Work is now on track to begin construction for the first ship, HMAS Hunter in 2023, according to InDaily.

The first steel, 140 tonne prototype block was constructed in late August at BAE Systems Australia’s Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide, after 45,000 work hours. There will be 22 blocks built for each frigate.

BAE Systems Australia program head Dean Wright said these blocks have about 50,000 parts prototyped, with around 4500 pipes alone.

These prototypes are not intended for the ships themselves, and while staff had floated the idea that these blocks are of a high quality appropriate for the ships, they do not incorporate Hunter class design changes, and are instead based on the HMS Glasgow currently under construction, along the River Clyde, in Glasgow, Scotland.

BAE Systems Australia Managing Director – Maritime, Craig Lockhart, said: “Throughout construction of the first prototype ship block, our highly-skilled workforce has been able to incorporate new, more efficient and effective ship-build methods and innovations into our processes.”

“We are working towards achieving new benchmarks in manufacturing efficiency and quality and the new processes we are developing allow much greater engagement with Australian suppliers.”

This latest development comes as AML3D is brought into the project to investigate the feasibility and prototyping of metal 3D printed components as part of the design and construction of the ships,

AML3D said the prototype components aim to provide higher strength properties than typical materials while also providing an alternative to traditionally cast items for future warship builds.

Meanwhile, Perth marine engineering firm VEEM has been slated to manufacture two giant propeller blades and a propeller hub for the prototyping phase.

VEEM is expected to commence work on the prototype propeller blades at its Canning Vale facility in November 2022, and will complete the work by March 2024.

Adelaide-based SMEs Novafast International and Century Engineering are also manufacturing parts for the Hunter Class frigates’ prototyping phase.

Watch the video below to see latest construction progress of the Hunter Class Frigates – Australia’s biggest manufacturing project – as separate units are connected to build a full ship block.

BAE Systems Hunter frigate construction – latest video – Celebrating Australian Made


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