The CEO of BAE Systems Australia has promised the company will deliver "the world's most advanced frigates" if selected to deliver the $35 billion Future Frigates Program in its latest pitch to secure the project.
The message from Gabby Costigan, delivered to Defence, politicians and available on the company's website, draws on BAE Systems Australia's decades-long history in the defence industry.
"As an Australian company, we have runs on the board, contributing over $1 billion to the Australian economy every year, together with a supply chain of over 1,600 Australian businesses with which we spend over $360 million per year; and importantly with our 3,500 local staff, including more than 1,000 who are working on maritime design and maintenance programs right now," Costigan said.
"Throughout our 65 years in Australia, we have not only helped protect Australia’s armed forces, we have helped establish Australia’s sovereign defence industry. On the ground, we’ve managed some of the nation’s largest and most complex Defence programs, creating the knowledge and understanding essential to getting the job done."
Costigan, a former member of the ADF, said a key component of BAE Systems' bid is delivering a sovereign Australian industry.
"I’ve experienced first-hand the trust our armed forces personnel put in government to provide them with the best capability so that they can do their job with confidence," Costigan said.
"Tomorrow our aim is to deliver on a unique vision for SEA 5000 if we are successful in our bid to be the Commonwealth’s long-term partner on this extraordinary program. A shared vision with the Commonwealth government, to create a stronger, more sustainable and sovereign naval shipbuilding industry, and in doing so deliver a formidable advantage to the Royal Australian Navy.
"Central to our vision is the creation of a highly skilled, highly regarded workforce here in Australia. One that will deliver thousands of new jobs over multiple decades. An industry that will employ over 1,000 graduates and apprentices delivered through the most strategic early careers program Australian shipbuilding has ever seen. An industry that will provide increased opportunities for Indigenous businesses and Indigenous Australians. An industry that will see Australian ships built by Australians, using Australian steel.
"But our plan for Australian suppliers doesn’t stop with Australia. By being a part of one of the world’s largest defence companies, we will work to ensure that Australian companies will have the opportunity to compete for work across our $18 billion annual global supply chain spend. This is the type of scale that is needed to propel Australia’s Defence industry onto the world stage."
Australian companies are already supplying into the BAE Systems' UK Type 26 program, with Tasmania's Liferaft Systems Australia and Victoria's Mackay Consolidated Industries already contracted to contribute to the UK's Type 26 frigates.
Liferaft Systems Australia, which is also a supplier to the UK's Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, will provide the Type 26 Marine Evacuation System, while Mackay Consolidated Industries will supply pipe hanger inserts, a key component in reducing underwater noise that is essential for anti-submarine warfare.
BAE Systems' Global Combat Ship – Australia design is up against Fincantieri's FREMM and Navantia's F-5000.
A decision on the project is expected as early next week.