Image for Australian steel the winner as frigate plan announced

Australia’s Future Frigate program has been awarded to BAE Systems, with significant benefits to flow to the steel supply chain. 

Liberty OneSteel will partner with BAE Systems for the supply of structural steel to build nine Future Frigates for the Royal Australian Navy.

BAE Systems Australia has been selected as the preferred tenderer to deliver the Future Frigates as part of the Australian government’s SEA 5000 program. The defence specialist has announced that it will partner with Liberty OneSteel as a major supplier of the 48,000 tonnes of Australian steel required for the project.

The Global Combat Ship – Australia is based on BAE Systems’ Type 26 Anti-Submarine Warship currently under construction in Glasgow for the Royal Navy. The Australian Future Frigates, which will be called the Hunter class, will be built in South Australia’s Osborne shipyard and will utilise Australian materials and an Australian workforce.

BAE Systems has prequalified over 500 Australian business from every state and territory as part of the Hunter class supply chain. The program is expected to be worth $35 billion for the design, build and support of the ships, and will create and sustain at least 5000 highly skilled jobs.

Liberty OneSteel will provide structural steel sections for use in each build, with additional value provided in the form of processing, fabrication and welding prior to delivery. As many as 4000 tonnes of additional structural steel will be supplied for infrastructure, including cradles and other fixtures.

Liberty OneSteel Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta said prior to the announcement that his company would be “honoured” to be involved in the project if BAE Systems was awarded the contract.

“It’s vital for the future of our industry that government projects adopt an Australian-made focus, so we commend BAE Systems for prioritising local products and services,” Mr Gupta said.

BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Gabby Costigan said: “Construction of the Global Combat Ship – Australia is expected to make a significant contribution to the nation’s economy, creating thousands of jobs, supporting new industries and boosting the national supply chain for decades to come.

“The Global Combat Ship – Australia will help protect our shipping lanes and regional trade routes, serve humanitarian missions and provide the nation with a formidable naval capability.”

Negotiations between BAE Systems and Australia’s Department of Defence will begin soon, with production of the ships expected to commence in 2020.