Steel contract signed for Australia’s new Hunter-class frigates

BAE Systems Australia’s shipbuilding business, ASC Shipbuilding, has signed a contract with Australian company BlueScope Steel AIS for the prototyping phase of the Hunter-class frigate program, due to start at the end of this year.

Under the AU$2.6 million contract, BlueScope Steel AIS will deliver more than 1,500 tonnes of steel plate to ASC Shipbuilding.

As explained, this is the first of a number of contracts ASC Shipbuilding will award to Australian businesses in the lead up to the Hunter program’s prototyping phase and realises the company’s commitment to use Australian steel for the $35 billion Hunter-class frigate program.

During prototyping, five representative ship ‘blocks’ will be built at the world-class Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.

During this phase, the processes, systems, tools, facilities and workforce competencies will be extensively tested and refined before construction commences on the first frigate in 2022.

“Today’s (June 5) 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,” Craig Lockhart, ASC Shipbuilding Managing Director, commented.

“The Hunter program is about more than just building warships; it is about building an enduring and uniquely Australian sovereign industrial capability that will support Australia’s continuous naval shipbuilding strategy for generations to come.”

“This contract is an important first step in potentially supplying steel into the build phase of the nine submarine hunting warships,” John Nowlan, BlueScope Chief Executive, Australian Steel Products, said.

ASC Shipbuilding will design and build nine Hunter Class ships, which are expected to be among the world’s most advanced anti-submarine warfare frigates, for the Royal Australian Navy.

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