Air Warfare Destroyer, block delivery, South Australia

Director of BAE Systems Maritime, Bill Saltzer, said the latest delivery now made a total of seven blocks sent to Adelaide since August last year.

“This is a major milestone for our yard with Blocks 101 and 415 being delivered to ASC. Block 101 is also the last of the keel blocks for Ship 1,” he said

Mr Saltzer said construction on the latest blocks, which weighed 65 tonnes and 83 tonnes respectively, began mid-2010.

“The progress BAE Systems has made on the AWD Blocks in terms of quality and productivity, particularly in the last year, has been a boost for the Williamstown yard,” he said.

“We have invested heavily in the yard and our people to develop shipbuilding skills which are valuable to the Victorian and national economies.

“As well as our investment in skills, education and training of our workforce of  tradesmen, technicians and engineers, BAE Systems and the Victorian Government have made major investments in upgrading facilities and adding new shipbuilding and military systems integration technologies.

“The shipyard is currently working on major defence projects such as the Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs) which will be the largest naval vessels ever to be commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy fleet, blocks for Air Warfare Destroyers, and upgrades to the ANZAC Frigates that were originally built in Williamstown.”

Mr Saltzer said the industrial capability existing now and still growing in Williamstown to support these projects has taken a great deal of time and investment to develop and it will be critical to the future of Australian Defence Force.

“The skills and technologies that we are continuing to be build up with major projects such as AWD, LHD and ASMD are the same capabilities that will be needed in Australia for the naval projects planned by the Government for the future,” he said.

In addition to the naval projects underway at the BAE shipyard in Williamstown, the company has recently re-established its presence in the commercial ship repair market as well.  This is illustrated by the presence of the offshore platform supply vessel Lady Kari-Ann in the historic Alfred Graving Dock.  This commercial vessel, owned by Farstad Shipping is in the drydock for a variety of maintenance and repair tasks.  It is the first commercial ship repair project undertaken in the yard since 2009.

“The Williamstown shipyard has long and proud history of building and maintaining ships critical to the defence of the country. It has played a major role in providing jobs for Victorians as well as being a significant source of revenue and business activity for suppliers and service providers in the area and throughout the country,” Mr Saltzer said.