ASC Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of BAE Systems Australia, is engaging with local suppliers for the Royal Australian Navy’s Hunter Class Frigate Program despite the challenging circumstances imposed by COVID-19.
A live webinar was held on May 22 by the business leaders and supply chain team, which provided an update on opportunities available with the frigate Program. The company is engaging with about 350 Australian suppliers.
The program aims to contract local businesses to supply material and services for the prototyping phase starting in December. During this phase, the processes, systems, tools, facilities and workforce competencies will be extensively tested and refined before construction begins on the first frigate in 2022.
ASC Shipbuilding Managing Director Craig Lockhart said the virtual engagement was productive.
“We were able to answer dozens of questions and the feedback has been tremendous,” Mr Lockhart said. “It was beneficial involving the Commonwealth in this webinar to further demonstrate the genuine collaboration between the Australian Government and ASC Shipbuilding to deliver this program.”
The Commonwealth was represented by Commercial Director for the program Chen Xu.
Ms Xu said industry events such as these helped convey the government’s commitment to developing a level of capability within the Australian supply chain to support local warship design and construction, with an increasing level of Australian industry content.
ASC Shipbuilding Supply Chain Director Ross Hillman said he and his team were committed to supporting Australian businesses, particularly during the pandemic, and were excited to be in the position to start awarding contracts for the prototyping phase.
“We are planning to hold another webinar in the next six to eight weeks and we look forward to engaging again,” Mr Hillman said.
RAN Hunter Class Frigate Program
The Royal Australian Navy’s Hunter Class guided-missile frigate (FFG) is based on BAE Systems’ Type 26 frigate, one of the world’s most advanced anti-submarine warships, which the company is currently constructing in Glasgow for the Royal Navy.
The RAN frigates will be built in Australia by ASC Shipbuilding at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.
The Hunter Class will provide the Australian Defence Force with the highest levels of lethality and deterrence our major surface combatants need in periods of global uncertainty. They will have the capability to conduct a variety of missions independently, or as part of a task group, with sufficient range and endurance to operate effectively throughout the region. The frigates will also have the flexibility to support non-warfare roles such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Incorporating the leading-edge Australian-developed CEA Phased-Array Radar and the U.S. Navy’s Aegis combat management system, with an Australian interface developed by Saab Australia, the Hunter Class will be one of the most capable warships in the world.
The first three ships of the Hunter Class will proudly carry the names of three major Australian regions, all with strong historical maritime and naval ties. HMA Ships Flinders (II) (SA region named for explorer Captain Matthew Flinders – first circumnavigation of Australia and identified it as a continent); Hunter (NSW region named for Vice-Admiral John Hunter – first fleet Captain and second Governor of NSW); and Tasman (state and sea named for explorer Abel Tasman – first known European explorer to reach Tasmania, New Zealand and Fiji). The class name was specifically chosen for the alternate interpretation of a ‘hunter’ personifying the role of the frigates as a submarine hunter, with the term embodying the pursuit of prey.
The Hunter Class will begin entering service in the late 2020s replacing the eight Anzac Class frigates, which have been in service since 1996.
+ Type: Frigate, Guided Missile (FFG)
+ Roles: Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW), Air Defence, Surface Warfare (ASuW), Surveillance & Intelligence, Interdiction, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)
+ Builder: BAE Systems/ASC Shipbuilding
+ Displacement: 8800 tonnes (full load)
+ Length: 149.9 meters
+ Beam: 20.8 meters
+ Propulsion: Combined Diesel Electric or Gas (CODLOG)
+ Speed: 27+ knots (top speed)
+ Range: 7000nm (electric motor drive)
+ Weapons: MU90 torpedos, Mk45 Mod 4 5″ gun, SM2 & ESSM missiles, Advanced anti-ship missiles, Mk41 Vertical Launch System, 2 x 30mm short-range gun, 2 x 20mm Close in Weapons System, and Nulka Decoy System
+ Aircraft: 1 x MH-60R helicopter
+ Ship company: 180 crew including embarked flight. Accommodation for up to 208.