Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have welcomed the announcement of 40 new engineers commencing as prototyping work for the Royal Australian Navy’s new Hunter Class frigates begins.
The prime contractor for the program, ASC Shipbuilding, has signed a contract with Sydney-based professional services company GHD Group to provide the highly-skilled Australian engineers to support the prototyping at the Osborne South Shipyard.
Minister Reynolds said the contract demonstrates the role that the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise plays in creating 15,000 jobs for Australians.
"This contract will create jobs at the Osborne South Shipyard, where the Navy’s nine Hunter Class anti-submarine warfare frigates will be built. These engineers will form part of the broader shipbuilding workforce that is expected to grow to more than 6,000 by 2030 to support a sovereign shipbuilding industry," Minister Reynolds said.
Minister Price said the engineers would work across a range of disciplines including structural, outfit, layout and electrical until 2023.
"This is just the latest round of jobs that the Hunter Class program has created following their intake of 18 apprentices in July this year. The creation of these jobs complements the work ASC Shipbuilding are doing to upskill their current workforce to work on the Hunter class program through their Diploma of Digital Technology," Minister Price said.
The Australian government and ASC Shipbuilding will continue to increase Australian industry content in the Hunter Class Frigate Program in the lead up to prototyping, which is due to begin at the end of the year.
This national endeavour will strengthen Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capability for generations to come, and will play a crucial part in supporting Australia’s economy and jobs growth.
In June 2018, the Commonwealth government announced BAE Systems Australia as the successful tender for the $35 billion SEA 5000 Future Frigate program.
The nine Hunter Class frigates will be based on the BAE Systems Type 26 Global Combat Ship currently under construction for the Royal Navy and will replace the eight Anzac Class frigates when they enter service beginning in the late 2020s.
The Hunter Class is billed as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) centric vessel delivering an advanced ASW capability to the Royal Australian Navy at a time when 50 per cent of the world’s submarines will be operating in the Indo-Pacific region.
The $35 billion program sees ASC Shipbuilding become a subsidiary of BAE Systems throughout the build process beginning in 2020 at the Osborne Shipyard in South Australia, creating more than 4,000 jobs.
BAE Systems expects the Australian industry content \for the Hunter Class build will be 65-70 per cent, which will create and secure thousands of jobs for decades.
At the end of the program the Commonwealth will resume complete ownership of ASC Shipbuilding, thereby ensuring the retention in Australia of intellectual property, a highly skilled workforce and the associated equipment.
SEA 5000 is expected to support over 500 Australian businesses who have been pre-qualified to be part of the Hunter Class supply chain, with the Australian steel industry in particular, benefiting from the 48,000 tonnes of steel required to build the ships.