By Luke Griffiths, The Advertiser
BAE Systems believes its bid to build Australia’s nine future frigates is “transformational and compelling”. The company yesterday officially submitted its plans to the Department of Defence for the $35 billion SEA 5000 Future Frigate program.
BAE is competing against Fincantieri and Navantia, with a competitive evaluation process expected to wrap up next year. Construction of the first frigate will occur in Adelaide in 2020. All nine boats will be built at Techport. The anti-submarine warfare fleet will replace the existing eight Anzac Class frigates. BAE’s bid revolves around its “Global Combat Ship Australia”, a variant of its Type 26 Global Combat Ship which is under construction for the UK’s Royal Navy.
The company’s bid is being led by maritime business development director, Nigel Stewart. He said the SEA 5000 program offered BAE the chance to “collaborate across the company by sharing our expertise and experience, transferring embedded knowledge from one market to benefit another”. “In addition, BAE is committed to representing Australia in the global marketplace, helping grow Australia’s export opportunities and opening up new markets for Australian industry through our global supply chain,” Mr Stewart said. “By combining the formidable capability of our Type 26 anti-submarine warfare frigate with the heritage and skills we have in Australia, we’re sure we can offer a proposition that is both transformational and compelling.
“Our commitment is to establish a world-class shipbuilding capability in Australia that will build Australian ships with an Australian workforce.” BAE’s local boss, Glynn Phillips said — if selected — SEA 5000 would be “a privilege that we are ready and excited to deliver”. “Australia’s national shipbuilding industry, including the future frigates, will attract talent from across the country, impacting the SA economy the way the resources boom transformed other parts of the country,” Mr Stewart said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government yesterday handed over its first payment of $20 million for the Techport shipbuilding site at Osborne. The entire deal will return around $230 million to State Government coffers and provide the Commonwealth unrestricted access to the site. SA Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith said yesterday’s payment marks a significant milestone in the state’s shipbuilding history. “It signals the start of major naval shipbuilding programs to be based in Adelaide,” he said. “The transfer of land will help the Australian Government create vital infrastructure to ensure our shipbuilding projects meet all the necessary time-frames and deadlines.”