Ahead of ASC Shipbuilding awarding contracts to Australian businesses to support the Hunter Class Frigate Program’s (HCFP) prototyping phase, which starts in December, more than 470 Australian companies have registered to participate in a virtual briefing on the program on Friday.
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ASC Shipbuilding’s supply chain team had scheduled face-to-face briefings on the Hunter program for Australian suppliers this month in Adelaide.
Due to COVID-19, ASC Shipbuilding will instead host a 90-minute webinar to provide program updates to small and large Australian businesses, as well as providing them with an opportunity to ask questions.
ASC Shipbuilding managing director Craig Lockhart and First Assistant Secretary Ships at CASG Sheryl Lutz will provide program overviews. ASC Shipbuilding supply chain experts will also provide updates to businesses whose equipment and services we will require during the prototyping phase, and beyond.
Only businesses that have expressed interest in the HCFP through the ICN Gateway are participating in the webinar.
Lockhart said, “I’m really pleased that in spite of COVID-19, we have been able to progress with this important supplier engagement. The large number of Australian businesses registered to take part shows the enthusiasm and support for the Hunter program as we head towards prototyping.”
During prototyping, five ship ‘blocks’ will be built and all the processes, systems, tools, facilities and workforce competencies will be tested and refined before construction on the first frigate starts in 2022.
ASC Shipbuilding has already released 27 work packages to the Australian market and to date has received 388 expressions of interest against those work packages. Twenty-two requests for quotes have also been issued.
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.
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.
Aegis is capable of simultaneously defending against attack from land targets, submarines and surface ships while automatically protecting the fleet against aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.