Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have announced that West Australian-based company Altrad Services has been contracted to provide blast and paint services to support the Royal Australian Navy’s Hunter Class frigate program.
Both ministers confirmed that the prime contractor for the Hunter program, ASC Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of BAE Systems Australia, has signed the contract with Altrad Services after a competitive tender process.
Minister Reynolds said the contract signing is a testament to the truly national endeavour of the Morrison government’s Hunter Class frigate program.
“This prototyping work is essential to ensure that workers are trained in the systems and processes prior to the beginning of the construction of Navy’s nine Hunter Class anti-submarine warfare frigates in 2022,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Through this government’s up to $183 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan we are strengthening Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capability for generations to come, which will play a crucial part in supporting Australia’s economy and jobs growth. The Hunter Class frigates, which will be built at Osborne in South Australia by Australian workers, will support jobs across Australia as the economy continues to recover from COVID-19.”
Altrad Services will prepare the steel supplied by BlueScope Steel AIS by blasting it and painting it with a primer, prior to being cut and fabricated into blocks. The completed blocks will then pass through the new block paint facility, ensuring the blocks are in a condition to paint and be ready to be transformed into prototype blocks.
During prototyping, the processes, systems, tools, facilities and workforce competencies will be established, tested and refined before construction commences on the first Hunter class frigate in 2022.
Minister Price said this contract was all about delivering on the Morrison government’s commitment to supporting Australian jobs in the defence industry.
“As we come back from the COVID-19 recession, businesses like Altrad Services in Perth will play a critical role in keeping Australians in a job. Now more than ever, it is so important that we continue to deliver unprecedented opportunities to Australian industry in this program,” Minister Price said.
“Our defence industry in WA is already one of the great success stories of advanced manufacturing which is delivering jobs for Australia. Support for Altrad Services is another example of how we are backing defence jobs in the West.”
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.
BAE Systems Australia announced that it had selected Lockheed Martin Australia and Saab Australia as combat systems integration industry partners, responsible for delivering the Australian designed CEAFAR 2 Active Phased Array Radar, Lockheed Martin designed Aegis combat management system and Saab Australia 9LV tactical interface.
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 (AIC) 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.