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BAE doubles down on Hunter program industrial uplift emphasis

BAE Systems Australia is leveraging “targeted tasks” as part of expanded industrial involvement with the Hunter Class frigate program to enhance the development of industrial capability among Australian SMEs.

BAE Systems Australia is leveraging “targeted tasks” as part of expanded industrial involvement with the Hunter Class frigate program to enhance the development of industrial capability among Australian SMEs.

BAE Systems Australia is working with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through what are known as “targeted tasks”, designed to maximise Australian Industry Capability and selected Australian SMEs as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to enhance their capability to work on the Hunter Class Frigate Program.

These “targeted tasks” include a specific scope of work to undertake, which comes in the form of either feasibility studies, the demonstration of capability, or uplifting their capability to meet the requirements of the Hunter program. These tasks enable outcomes such as knowledge transfer to Australian industry; the creation of intellectual property; design, manufacture, and assembly within Australia.

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Scott Robertson, head of supply chain for BAE Systems Australia – maritime, acquisition, said, “We are reducing the entry barrier for Australian companies to supply into the Hunter Class Frigate Program – this is a truly national endeavour and the benefits will flow through to companies of all sizes.”

BAE Systems Australia is working with SMEs across Australia – both in metro and regional areas – including VEEM (Western Australia) in collaboration with Kongsberg UK; Taylor Brothers (Tasmania); CR Mining (Queensland); Thornton Tomasetti (based in Victoria and Western Australia) working with Vipac (Victoria) and Austest (NSW); MyModular (South Australia); and Indigenous-owned and operated company Allweld Manufacturing (Queensland).

Additionally, these targeted tasks cover work scope from large-scale metal casting and machining to validating in-country shock testing, inclusive manufacturing for non-typical persons, design and manufacture of stowage and outfit items, manufacture and testing of insulated panels, and supporting membership in the Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) and compliance with Lloyd’s Register.

“The Hunter Class frigates – being built here in Australia, by Australians – are providing jobs both directly and indirectly; from the heart of the build at Osborne Naval Shipyard, to our extensive supply chain, we are always looking to maximise and grow,” Robertson added.

“With BAE Systems Australia’s support, Allweld’s capabilities and knowledge will be uplifted allowing our business to grow in the defence sector.”

Allweld Manufacturing director Josh Linwood stressed the importance of the BAE initiative and its impact on building Australia’s sovereign defence industry capability, saying, “Allweld Manufacturing are a proud Indigenous and regional business, and our team are very excited to be working with BAE Systems Australia to be part of their supply chain on the Hunter program.”

To date, 14 Australian companies have been engaged on targeted tasks, with more than $4 million injected into Australian industry. A further $1.5 million is planned for Australian Industry Capability development before the end of 2023.

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