Spanish company Navantia has been selected following a limited tender process to bring an experienced shipbuilding management team into ASC to improve performance on the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program.
As the Hobart class AWD platform systems designer, Navantia is also set to base a design team at the ASC South shipbuilding facility at Osborne, South Australia, the federal government announced.
“This latest step is the culmination of a number of reforms we have made to address budget and schedule overruns and bring the project back on track,” said Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne and Minister for Finance Senator Mathias Cormann in a joint statement.
“These reforms included improvements to the senior management at ASC Shipbuilding, and inserted additional shipbuilding and related capability from Navantia, BAE Systems and Raytheon Australia.”
The ministers stated that these initiatives have already led to a turnaround in performance. “Productivity has improved by around 35 per cent, and delivery of the second and third Air Warfare Destroyers is now expected up to three months earlier than the timeframes estimated by a forensic audit in May this year,” they said.
The AWD Alliance welcomed the government’s announcement and confirmed that Navantia has been contracted to bring in an experienced management team for the remainder of the construction program.
“Over the past year, we have made significant productivity improvements and achieved a number of critical milestones, from launching Hobart in May to laying the keel for Sydney last month,” said AWD program manager Peter Croser.
“Just yesterday, we installed a fully outfitted mast onto Brisbane and commenced diesel generator light-off activities on Hobart. Next year, we look forward to the completion of combat systems activation on Hobart before sea trials, and the launch of Brisbane.”
ASC Shipbuilding interim chief executive officer Mark Lamarre said the insertion of additional shipbuilding capability will build on productivity improvements made by the AWD shipbuilder over the last 12 to 18 months.
“We are a learning organisation, and we are applying the lessons learnt from the first ship to the second and third,” he commented. “There has been a 39 per cent improvement on Ship 2 and a further 14 per cent on Ship 3, and we are getting better every day.
“The introduction of Navantia to lead a realigned Shipbuilding Integrated Product Team within the AWD Alliance will help us to efficiently complete the test, activation and trial stages of the ships.”