ASC Shipbuilding has engaged with hundreds of suppliers across the country, despite the unprecedented circumstances brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Over 350 industry partners have been brought into the fold, as the Adelaide-based company looks to orchestrate the project remotely.
As military and civilian organisations have battled to get to grips with the challenges of remote working in recent months, ASC Shipbuilding has faced the unique challenge of co-ordinating a national-level supply chain by distance.
Over the course of the Hunter Class frigate project, the build is expected to generate 5,000 jobs across BAE Systems and the wider Australian defence supply chain, including 1,000 apprentice and graduate roles.
In a live webinar held on 22 May by company leaders and the supply chain team, ASC provided an update on opportunities available within the Hunter Class Program. The program hopes to contract local operators to supply material and services for the prototyping phase, which is slated to begin in December this year.
Over the course of 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,” he 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.
According to Xu, industry events such as these helped to 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 over the course of 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,” said Hillman.