ASC Shipbuilding has signed a $2.6 million contract with BlueScope Steel AIS to supply more then 1,500 tonnes of steel plate for the SEA 5000 Hunter class frigate program.
The steel will be used to construct five representative ship blocks for the program’s prototyping phase which aims to test processes, systems, tools, and facilities before production of the first of nine Hunter class vessels commences in 2022.
“Prototyping is an essential phase when building any complex warship, and will ensure employees at ASC Shipbuilding are thoroughly trained in using the state of the art digital equipment in one of the world’s most advanced shipyards at Osborne South in Adelaide,” Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds said in a statement.
“This first phase is key to the Hunter class program, which when complete will provide the Royal Australian Navy with a regionally superior anti-submarine warfare capability.”
In a separate statement, ASC Shipbuilding Managing Director, Craig Lockhart said, “Today’s contract signing is the first of many contracts that we will award to Australian businesses in coming months, as we count down to prototyping cut steel in December.
“This is a significant milestone and, in awarding this contract to BlueScope Steel AIS, we are confident that we have selected the company with the best capability while meeting our commitments to supporting Australian businesses and maximising Australian Industry Capability,” he added.
“During the prototyping phase we expect to spend 90 per cent of the value of the work required to construct the test blocks in Australia, and I hope today’s contract signing is the start of a long-term relationship with BlueScope Steel AIS.”
BlueScope Chief Executive, Australian Steel Products, John Nowlan added, “BlueScope is very pleased to be chosen by ASC Shipbuilding…to supply steel into the prototyping phase of the Hunter Class Frigate Program.
“The company has a long and proud history of supplying steel into defence projects – in the 1990’s we supplied more than 20,000 tonnes of steel into the original ANZAC class frigate fleet that the Hunter class ships will replace,” Nowlan added.
“This contract is an important first step in potentially supplying steel into the build phase of the nine submarine hunting warships.”