Prime Minister Scott Morrison has lauded Australian Naval Infrastructure’s development of the Osborne South Naval Shipyard, which will soon house BAE Systems subsidiary ASC Shipbuilding’s Hunter Class Frigate Program.
ASC Shipbuilding, which is now in the final stages of the formal handover of the yard from Australian Naval Infrastructure, will leverage the shipyard’s digital environment for the design and build of nine of the anti-submarine warfare frigates, which will be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy.
Prime Minister Morrison noted the contribution of the project to the broader economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
“it's all about jobs. The way we grow ourselves out of the challenges we have economically is what will determine our future. And you don't grow unless you build these sorts of facilities,” he said.
“You don't grow unless you train thousands of workers who will come and be part of this magnificent venture. We'll have around 2,500 people involved in these projects — thousands of jobs will be created here very, very soon [and] these apprentices will come in wave after wave after wave.
“We haven't seen this in this country at this scale for a very, very long time, [and] the fact that it's happening here in South Australia is tremendously exciting and it's providing an economic foundation for this state for decades to come.”
ASC Shipbuilding has been given the greenlight to commence prototyping in December 2020, following the Prototyping Readiness Review, which assessed the Hunter program’s preparedness across a range of areas, including safety, quality production inputs, processes, tools, workforce and facilities.
Construction of the first Hunter Class frigate is then expected to commence in 2022, upon completion of the prototyping process.
“The Hunter Class frigate program is significant to both the defence of the nation, and the contribution it will make to the Australian economy,” BAE Systems Australia CEO Gabby Costigan said.
“[The] visit by the Prime Minister was important in demonstrating how despite the challenging environment we are working in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, work on Hunter has not stopped.
“We now have the go-ahead to proceed towards cut steel on the prototyping phase of Hunter, and this will proceed in December, as planned, allowing us to continue to hire more Australians and sign contracts with more Australian businesses.”
ASC Shipbuilding managing director Craig Lockhart added, “I am extremely pleased we have been given the green light to proceed with prototyping, which we will close out in the coming weeks and months ahead of going live in December 2020 as planned.
“The outcome of this week’s review reflects the outstanding work carried out by the entire ASC Shipbuilding team and close collaboration with the Commonwealth – and I am grateful for everyone’s efforts. The Hunter program is a true collaboration between us, as prime, government and industry.
“Over the coming weeks and months, ASC Shipbuilding will continue to work closely with the Commonwealth and Australian Naval Infrastructure to accept and commission the buildings in readiness for prototyping cut steel in December.”