Three Australian companies have been recipients of contracts to support the Hunter Class frigate program as part of the Commonwealth government’s strategy to support local defence SMEs, Defence confirmed on Thursday.
BAE Systems Australia confirmed that it has entered into agreements with Victoria-based Macaky Consolidated Industries as well as South Australian companies Century Engineering and Novafast International to deliver support for the upcoming Hunter Class frigate prototype.
The three participating SMEs are expected to support BAE Systems Australia’s prototype by developing the piping systems across the ship at the shipyards in Osborne, South Australia. Other local companies taking part in the frigate program are BlueScope Steel AIS, Infrabuild Steel Centre, APS Adelaide Profile Services and TQCSI-Yaran.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price outlined that the government’s sovereign capability program will enhance both Australia’s defence establishment as well as local manufacturing jobs.
“This is the latest example of this government’s commitment to developing a world-class sovereign defence industrial capability and ensuring that Australian industry and workers build the capability the Australian Defence Force needs to keep us safe,” Minister Price said.
“The Morrison government’s commitment to AIC has given BAE Systems Australia the confidence to engage with Australian industry and to bring forward these contracts, investing in the skills and capability of Australian workers and industry.”
The announcement of three more local SMEs joining the BAE Systems Australia Hunter Class frigate supply chain comes following the agreement between BAE Systems Australia and Sydney-based Burwell Technologies to undertake blast testing on the Hunter Class prototype.
“We are delivering digital shipbuilding in a way that has never before been done in this country – in particular we are seeking to apply a number of technologies from adjacent sectors such as robotics and Industry 4.0,” Alistair Bacon, BAE Systems Maritime Australia Global Combat Ship manufacturing director, said of the blast testing.
“We know that technology and manufacturing capability will evolve across the three batches of Hunter Class frigates, and it’s vital that we continue to look at new ways of working and advanced and innovative manufacturing methods, which will improve productivity, quality and safety outcomes at the state-of-the-art shipyard at Osborne.”
[Related: Innovation to support Hunter Class frigates]