BAE Systems yesterday announced its submission of the Global Combat Ship variant of the Type 26 frigate design for the Commonwealth's Sea 5000 Future Frigate program.
According to the company, the bid includes its intention to partner with the Government to develop a long-term ship building strategy in Australia for complex warships and to offer a proposal to build nine Anti-Submarine Warfare frigates for the Royal Australian Navy.
BAE Systems commenced manufacture for the first of three Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy on 20 July.
The campaign is being led by BAE Systems’ global Maritime Business Development director, Nigel Stewart, and the bid was put together by a joint UK and Australian team to ensure the learning and knowledge from the Type 26 program is fully complemented by the maritime skills and expertise of BAE Systems’ team in Australia.
“By combining the formidable capability of our Type 26 anti-submarine warfare frigate with the heritage and skills we have in Australia, we are sure we can offer a proposition to the Government that is both transformational and compelling,” Stewart said. “Our commitment is to establish a world class ship building capability in Australia that will build Australian ships with an Australian work force.”
Stewart added the opportunity was unique, as it offered the company a chance to sharing its expertise and experience, transferring embedded knowledge from one market to benefit another.
“In addition, BAE Systems 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.”
The company sees its “fully bow-to-stern digital design” as a de-risking factor in its construction for the Royal Navy and thinks Australia stands to benefit from the learnings of the Type 26 program.
The UK program has seen lengthy delays, as the UK MoD initally reduced the number of frigates from an original 13 to the present 8 and resisted the signing a full contract until only July of this year (for the first three). Back in March 2010, BAE had signed the £127 million design contract for the Type 26, with the last of the six Type 45 destroyers launching on the Clyde in October of that year. Only in February 2015 did the MoD sign an £859 million initial development deal on the new design and as late as June 2016 Secretary Fallon had said no deal to build the Type 26 would be signed until the program offered "value for money".