Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo has opened a $5 million, multi-level ship-side support tower at the BAE Systems Australia facility at the Australian Marine Complex at Henderson, Western Australia.
The $5 million tower will initially support the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) being undertaken as part of the Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA) between BAE Systems, SAAB Australia, Naval Ship Management (NSM) and the Commonwealth of Australia.
The five-level tower was built between the ship dry berths to accommodate support staff and provide amenities for the team delivering the upgrade. The project created 50 jobs, cost $6.4 million and shows how important Henderson is as a shipbuilding and maintenance hub.
The ship-side support tower provides offices and meeting spaces for support staff on the lower levels and amenities for the trade workforce on the upper levels. Two gangways at the upper level provide direct access to the ships dry berthed on either side.
BAE Systems Australia director maritime Darren Kirkby said, "We are already seeing the benefits of having key support functions consolidated and located closer to the work front. This project was about facilitating collaboration between alliance partners and we can see where BAE Systems and NSM employees are now collocating on a more effective level."
Additionally, the facility contains offices, workstations, audio-visual facilities, meeting rooms, parts and equipment storage, and amenities for personnel working on the ships.
"This investment is important for the AMCAP program and the incredibly complex work that will be undertaken over the next five years. It’s also a valuable asset for future naval sustainment and upgrade programs undertaken at our site and within the Henderson precinct," Kirkby added.
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said the development underscored a continuous improvement initiative by the WAMA Alliance.
"The alliance is a commercial arrangement between the Commonwealth and companies BAE Systems, Saab and Naval Ship Management to deliver through-life maintenance and upgrade requirements for the Anzac Class frigates," Minister Pyne said.
Minister Ciobo acknowledged the significant role sustainment enterprises such as the WAMA Alliance were playing in the defence industry.
"The WAMA Alliance alone is generating over 1,700 continuous jobs and $1.2 billion of service opportunities for small and large businesses over the course of the next five years," Minister Ciobo explained.
The facility was designed by architect Brown Falconer and built by local contractor Badge Constructions, which delivered the building on time and within budget. Supply Nation members Maybell Group and S&M Contracting provided and installed the furniture and fittings.
This announcement follows the recent completion of the AMCAP for HMAS Arunta by BAE Systems Australia at the Henderson facility, which will see the ship return to service in 2019.
The Henderson-based Australian Marine Complex (AMC) is integral to Australia’s front-line defence, and is an important asset in maintaining the Royal Australian Navy fleet. The Common User Facility (CUF) has facilitated major works and repair programs for RAN’s Collins Class submarines, Anzac frigates and supply tankers.
The AMC-CUF is home to the world’s most technically advanced floating dock, which can lift vessels of up to 12,000 tonnes out of the water for service. Its four wharves can accommodate vessels of up to 300 metres in length, and provide adequate berthing space for major works including ship conversions, refits and repairs.
The AMC-CUF is also home to ASC West, which provides a purpose-built submarine repair facility and the WA headquarters of ASC, an Australian-owned prime defence contractor and builder of the Collins Class submarine and Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer.
ASC’s through-life support contract will see the Collins Class submarines maintained at the CUF over the next 25 years. Warfare systems developer Raytheon Australia and other defence contractors, including BAE Systems, also reside within the AMC’s precincts.