Steel contract marks next step in Hunter Class Frigate Program

An illustration of the Hunter-class frigate

ASC Shipbuilding has signed a $2.6 million contract with BlueScope Steel AIS for the Hunter Class Frigate Program.

Under the contract announced last week, Australian company BlueScope will supply more than 1500 tonnes of steel plate to build five blocks during the prototyping phase of the shipbuilding program, which is on track to begin later this year.

The construction of the blocks will test processes, systems, tools and facilities, as well as provide practical training opportunities for Australian workers.

Managing Director of ASC, Craig Lockhart, said the contract signing was the first of many that would be awarded to Australian businesses in the coming months.

ASC is BAE Systems Australia’s shipbuilding business and prime contractor for the program.

“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,” Mr Lockhart said.

BlueScope Chief Executive, Australian Steel Products, John Nowlan, said his company had a long and proud history of supplying steel for defence projects. Bluescope supplied more than 20,000 tonnes of steel for the original Anzac Class frigate fleet that the Hunter Class frigates will replace.

First Assistant Secretary Ships in Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, Sheryl Lutz, said Defence and industry would be in a long-term partnership to achieve the successful outcome of a sovereign naval construction and sustainment industry.

“The Hunter Class Frigate Program is key to establishing continuous naval shipbuilding in the Osborne naval shipyard,” Ms Lutz said.

“ASC Shipbuilding are working with the Commonwealth to further identify opportunities to develop sovereign capabilities, including through targeted investment in Australian Industry.”

More than 1100 companies have already pre-qualified to be part of the supply chain for the prototyping phase of the program.

Construction of the first-of-class HMAS Flinders is on track to begin by the end of 2022.