Call up for WA suppliers to help on Future Frigates

10 November, 2017

The $35 billion SEA 5000 project to build nine frigates for the Royal Australian Navy will be a whole-of-nation enterprise, says one of the three designers bidding for the contract.

BAE Systems SEA 5000 Managing Director Nigel Stewart says that although construction will be undertaken in South Australia, the project will be so large it will draw on the “skills, manpower and collective capability of the entire country”.

Stewart will give a rundown of opportunities available to WA companies at the WA Works Sundowner on November 14.

“We fully expect work packages to be made available to WA businesses that have the capability to supply into the program,” Stewart says.

“The opportunity to lead an Australian program that is truly nation shaping is something that really excites me. We are at the start of something that will last generations and bring enormous value to the country. 

“In my role I get to see the capabilities of suppliers around the world. It’s really inspiring to see in Australia both well-established capabilities and new capabilities that are emerging through local suppliers.

“There is a lot of world-class capability here – and that’s just as well. SEA 5000 is going to need all of that capability.” 

Stewart says successfully completing the Offshore Patrol Vessel program in WA – with the successful bidder set to be announced before the end of this year and construction to start initially in Adelaide before transferring to WA – will be a major step forward for WA.

“Beyond that, SEA 5000 represents a huge opportunity for all of Australia.  The Future Frigates will be a major program. At BAE Systems Australia, our due diligence on supply chain means we are looking across all states for potential partners to deliver work packages to ensure Australian industrial content is delivered.”       

BAE Systems has been shortlisted for the Future Frigate program, along with Italy’s Fincantieri and Spain’s Navantia.

Stewart says second and third tier suppliers should be registering with BAE, as well and the other primes for SEA 5000.

“You can find our links to registration pages by visiting ournavalfuture.com.au,” he says.

BAE Systems already has a shipyard at Henderson offering repair, maintenance and re-fit services to naval, paramilitary and commercial vessels. It has a strong history in the construction and delivery of small to medium sized, technically advanced vessels.

“The capabilities at Henderson include commercial and defence refit and repair, construction of new vessels, and general fabrication and construction,” he says.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited the shipyard this month to announce a $200m upgrade to the company’s Nulka active missile decoy.

The 20-year program will include a new launch system and supporting technology to enhance Nulka’s effectiveness and ensure that it continues protecting Australian and allied fleets well into the future.

It will also include installation of new launch systems on the Anzac frigates which are being upgraded at Henderson as part of the AUD $2b, six-year Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program.

BAE Systems is responsible for the design, development and integration of the Nulka system on Royal Australian Navy ships.

►Don’t miss your chance to hear about potential supply chain opportunities from BAE Systems — book your tickets to the WA Works Sundowner on 14 November.