Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds has welcomed news that a South Australian business is the latest Australian company selected to supply into the multi-billion dollar UK Type 26 program, currently building three Global Combat Ships in Glasgow, Scotland, for the UK Royal Navy.
Airspeed, which specialises in 'design and build' applications of composite materials for aerospace, maritime and energy-related projects, has been awarded the contract to provide the replenishment at sea stump mast (RASSM) for the first batch of three Type 26 multi-mission warships.
The RASSM allows for the resupply of ammunition and small of amounts of stores while a ship is at sea.
Airspeed is the seventh Australian company – the second from SA – to supply into the Type 26 program as part of BAE Systems’ Global Access Program, joining Electro Optic Systems, Liferaft Systems Australia, Thales Australia, Mackay Consolidated Rubber, Rowlands Metalworks and CBG Systems (Moonraker).
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds made the contract announcement as she toured BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard in Glasgow, where she witnessed first-hand the progress on Glasgow, the first Type 26 frigate.
BAE Systems Australia’s shipbuilding business, ASC Shipbuilding, will design and build nine anti-submarine warfare frigates for the Royal Australian Navy as part of the Hunter Class Frigate Program.
The Hunter Class frigates will be based on the Type 26 ship design and will be modified to meet Australian requirements, forming a formidable fleet of warships with essential next-generation capability that will be critical in helping protect the nation for decades to come.
Minister Reynolds said, "It was fantastic to be hosted by BAE Systems today at Govan shipyard where I witnessed the progress of the Glasgow, first in class Type 26.
"Airspeed is the latest Australian company to win an export opportunity to supply the UK’s Type 26 frigate program, and will design and build the replenishment at sea stump mast for the UK’s newest warships."
Airspeed is the latest Australian company to win an export opportunity to supply the UK’s Type 26 frigate program, and will design and build the RASSM for the UK.
Managing director of ASC Shipbuilding Craig Lockhart said, "Airspeed’s engagement with the UK Type 26 program was facilitated through BAE Systems’ Global Access Program (GAP), which helps Australian small to medium enterprises access worldwide opportunities by providing them an entry point into the company’s global supply chains newest warships."
"In the Hunter Program we are committed to engaging with the nation’s defence industry and discovering the world-class capability that Australian companies offer, and I am delighted seven local businesses are now supplying into the Type 26 program.
"Supplying into the Type 26 program provides the ASC Shipbuilding team with excellent awareness of the capability of local businesses and their potential suitability for other defence projects."
Managing director of Airspeed Steve Barlow welcomed the announcement, saying, "In recent years, we have evolved our aerospace background to roll out lightweight structural composites for the Collins Class submarines and local warship programs."
The Hunter Class frigate is the world’s first bow-to-stern digitally-designed anti-submarine warfare frigate, and the Hunter program is the biggest surface ship project in Australia’s defence history.
BAE Systems seeks to maximise Australian industry involvement in projects, spending around $330 million with around 1,600 Australian suppliers annually.
Prototyping on the Hunter program will begin in 2020, which is where all the processes, systems, tools, facilities and workforce competencies will be tested and refined before construction on the first frigate commences at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in 2022.
The Hunter program will create and sustain more than 5,000 jobs across BAE Systems Australia and ASC Shipbuilding, and the wider Australian defence supply chain, over the life of the program. To date more than 800 Australian companies have pre-qualified to work on the Hunter program.