Naval Warfare

Airspeed Joins Royal Australian Navy Hunter Class Frigate Program

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Airspeed Joins Royal Australian Navy Hunter Class Frigate Program

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Anschütz WINBS Selected for Royal Australian Navy’s Hunter Class Frigate Program
Royal Australian Navy’s Hunter Class Frigate

South Australian company Airspeed has been awarded a contract to manufacture and supply Replenishment At Sea (RAS) Stump Masts for the first batch of three Hunter class frigates. The RAS Stump Masts allow for the transfer of fuel, munitions and stores from one ship to another while at sea. Airspeed is currently supplying RAS Stump Masts for the first batch of three Type 26 frigates, which BAE Systems is building for the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. Airspeed’s contract for Type 26 was secured with support from BAE Systems Australia’s Global Access Program, which identifies and facilitates opportunities for Australian businesses to enter BAE Systems’ global supply chain. The quality of Airspeed’s products for both Type 26 and its light-weight floor panels supplied for the Air Warfare Destroyer program were key enablers for Airspeed being selected to supply into the RAS Stump Masts for the Hunter Class Frigate Program.

Steve Barlow, Managing Director, Airspeed, said:“As an Australian SME, Airspeed, is proud to be a part of the Hunter Class Frigate Program and the advanced capabilities it brings to the Royal Australian Navy. We are also very pleased to showcase the abilities of the Airspeed team at the core of a successful, sovereign, design and build composite manufacturing organisation.”

(Photo by BAE Systems)
(Photo by BAE Systems)

Craig Lockhart, Managing Director, BAE Systems Australia – Maritime, said: “One of the great benefits of Hunter and Type 26 being part of the same Global Combat Ship family is the ability for companies to expand their operations internationally and supply into multiple shipbuilding programs here in Australia and the UK. This is a great testament to not only the quality of work that Airspeed has produced, but also the work we do as a company – through initiatives like the Global Access Program – to enable growth in Australian industry. The strong progress we’re making on the Hunter program at the Osborne Naval Shipyard demonstrates the success of all our suppliers and partners, who are all involved in this truly national shipbuilding program.”

The Hunter-class frigate is a future class of six heavy frigates for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to replace the Anzac class. Following a report by the RAND Corporation into options for Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry, the Government announced an $89 billion naval shipbuilding plan. This plan brought the schedule of the Future Frigate Program forward by three years and announced a “continuous onshore build program to commence in 2020” in South Australia. A competitive evaluation process was announced in April 2016, and a request for tender was released in March 2017 to three contenders: Navantia, Fincantieri, and BAE Systems as part of a competitive evaluation process. The program is expected to cost AU$35 billion. In June 2018, the BAE Systems Type 26 frigate was selected as the winner.

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