BAE Systems is in the process of transferring two million digital artefacts and 90,000 documents about the UK’s Type 26 frigate to their Australian office to support the construction of the Hunter Class frigate as part of the SEA 5000 project.
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The transfer of the artefacts and files from the UK’s frigate program in Scotland to BAE’s Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide is expected to support BAE Systems Maritime Australia’s construction of nine Hunter Class frigates, which are based on the Global Combat Ship (GCS) baseline design and the Type 26 reference ship that is currently being built for the Royal Navy out of Glasgow.
Among the files include design information, drawings, data, videos, diagrams and tools to support the construction of the Hunter Class and a broader sovereign design capability.
According to a release from BAE Systems Australia, the data transfer process is referred to as “design separation” in which the information from previous designs undergoes updates in line with “locally mandated changes” generating a sovereign design.
Knowledge and expertise are likely to also be undertaken with Global Combat Ship partners in the United Kingdom and Canada, with the Royal Canadian Navy also designing a Type 26 reference ship.
It is hoped that the knowledge transfer will support a long-term sovereign ship building industry in the nation.
“The Hunter Class Frigate Program has taken another significant step forward by starting the transfer of the design to Australia,” Craig Lockhart, managing director of BAE Systems Maritime Australia said.
“Hunter Design Separation is an important part of ensuring Australia has sovereign design capability for complex warships, an important enabler of continuous naval shipbuilding.
“This complex and challenging work undertaken by a team of engineers, project managers and ICT professionals in both nations is a first for Australia and a sign of the exciting and rewarding opportunities available on the Hunter Program.”
The data transfer announcement came as BAE Systems signed a 34-year extension on its current lease at Newcastle Airport and also entered into a new pre-commitment for up to 4.4 hectares of land on Astra Aerolab – a defence and aerospace precinct, which offers airside access to RAAF Williamtown and Newcastle Airport.
The agreement will enable Astra Aerolab to provide a full range of property services, including future development of facilities on the pre-commitment land.
BAE Systems’ commitment and expansion at Astra Aerolab will propel the development of the world-class aerospace precinct, according to Dr Peter Cock, Newcastle Airport CEO.
“As Australia’s premier fast jet base, RAAF Base Williamtown is home to a vast majority of Australia’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighters," Dr Cock said.
"BAE Systems Australia plays a key sustainment role in the Asia-Pacific region for the F-35 program and as such is looking to increase its presence and resources at Williamtown.
“The importance of this agreement cannot be overstated."