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BAE Systems Australia begins Hunter-class design separation

More than two million digital artefacts and 90,000 documents are being transferred from the UK’s Type 26 frigate program in Scotland to Adelaide’s Osborne Naval Shipyard for the construction of the RAN’s nine Hunter class-frigates.

BAE Systems Maritime Australia is building the ships, based on the UK’s Glasgow-class Type 26 frigate that’s currently under construction for the UK’s Royal Navy.

Team in the company’s UK operations are now transferring design information, drawings, data, videos, diagrams and tools to a team of engineers at Osborne to establish a new sovereign design capability for complex warships in Australia.

Known as “Design Separation”, this process enables the local design and development of the Hunter frigate as plans of the ship are progressively transferred to the Australian shipyard and locally mandated changes to the combat system are incorporated.  A mature ship design will then be translated into production drawings ahead of the construction of each frigate.

Craig Lockhart, Managing Director, BAE Systems Maritime Australia, said, “Hunter Design Separation is an important part of ensuring Australia has sovereign design capability for complex warships, an important enabler of continuous naval shipbuilding.

“This complex and challenging work undertaken by a team of engineers, project managers and ICT professionals in both nations is a first for Australia and a sign of the exciting and rewarding opportunities available on the Hunter program.”

Collaboration will also continue with Global Combat Ship partners in the UK and Canada. A variant of the Type 26 reference ship is also in the design phase for the Royal Canadian Navy, and the three programs are sharing common data.

The digital design of the Hunter-class frigates enables BAE Systems Maritime Australia to invest in the development of new technologies and solutions that will transform continuous naval shipbuilding in Australia. The company is working closely with Flinders University in Adelaide whose Line Zero Factory of the Future is designed to explore new shipyard and construction technologies.

Program mobilisation across the Hunter-class Frigate Program continues at pace with prototyping underway on the first block. Contract awards to Australian industry so far exceed contractual commitments, with more than 40 contracts placed with Australian businesses to support design and prototyping.

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