Hunter Class Frigate Program engagement with Australian industry grows

October 15, 2020 – The public Australian Industry Capability (AIC) Plan for the first phase of the Morrison Government’s Hunter Class Frigate Program has been released, detailing how AIC will be maximised in the initial design and production phase of the program.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the release of the AIC Plan demonstrates the Morrison Government’s commitment to maximising Australian Industry involvement in the construction of Defence’s new anti-submarine warfare frigates.

“We can already see the progress that ASC Shipbuilding has made in promoting AIC with the contracts signed to procure Australian steel for the prototyping phase of the Hunter Class Frigate Program,” Minister Reynolds said.

“We remain on track to begin the prototyping phase of the Hunter Class Frigate Program at the end of this year.

“ASC Shipbuilding is busy placing more contracts with Australian businesses to support prototyping.

“Australian businesses now on contract include: Sofraco, a New South Wales-based engineering company who will examine test facility requirements for skid‑based pumping solutions; APS Adelaide Profile Services of South Australia, who will process and precision-cut steel; and Adelaide Inspection Services of South Australia, who will conduct non‑destructive testing.

“I am proud to be part of a Government which puts faith in growing our Hunter class workforce to more than 2200 Australians by the late 2020s, and more than a thousand Australian businesses already registered with ASC Shipbuilding to support and equip the Australian Defence Force.”

In June 2020, ASC Shipbuilding placed a contract worth around $2.5 million with BlueScope Steel AIS to deliver more than 1500 tonnes of steel plate which will be used for prototyping.

Earlier this month, ASC Shipbuilding engaged Infrabuild Steel Centre – a South Australian company – to supply around 120 tonnes of locally-made steel to make the jig wagons which will hold and support the movement of ship parts around the Osborne Naval Shipyard.

“While prototyping is just around the corner, the Hunter program is already looking forward to the construction of the first ships in Batch 1 and maximizing AIC by investing in local companies through feasibility studies,” Minister Reynolds said.

There will also be additional contracts signed with Australian companies as part of the 33 work packages to be released during the prototyping phase, valued in excess of $20 million.

The contracts will include work on specialized steel sections, non-destructive testing, blast and paint services, pipe couplings, cables and ship outfit and furnishing materials.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said significant progress was also being made on other pillars of ASC Shipbuilding’s AIC Plan.

“I commend ASC Shipbuilding on their employee training and apprenticeship programs which are vital to training the growing workforce that will build the Navy’s nine Hunter class anti-submarine warfare frigates,” Minister Price said.

“It is also important that we continue to work with ASC Shipbuilding and engage our industry stakeholders as we have been doing throughout the year, including via a webinar in August with another planned for November.

“This engagement is critical to explaining to small and medium businesses what opportunities are out there on the Hunter Class Frigate Program and how to get in contact with original equipment manufacturers about becoming a part of supply chains.”

The Hunter Class Frigate Program will achieve a minimum of 58 per cent AIC over the life of the acquisition contract.

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