Director of Maritime for BAE Systems Australia, Bill Saltzer, said the team at Williamstown was ready to begin consolidation work on the second ship when it was transported to the yard in the coming days.
“In the last few months, work has proceeded at a rapid pace in preparation for the hull’s arrival,” he said.
“Construction, consolidation and advance outfitting of the four sections of the superstructure has been undertaken at our Williamstown yard with fabrication of the mast modules undertaken at our Henderson shipyard in Western Australia.”
Mr Saltzer said the second hull was expected to be docked at the BAE Systems Williamstown shipyard within a week.
“The hull will dock at Webb Dock for a few days to have the sea fastenings removed. Once these have been removed it will be floated off the Blue Marlin and transported by tug to Williamstown. This operation is weather dependent however we expect to have the hull to be here at Williamstown within a week.”
Mr Saltzer said the BAE Systems team at Williamstown had been eagerly awaiting the second hull while also preparing the first LHD for sea trials, which were expected to commence in the coming weeks.
“At this stage the first LHD will depart Williamstown for a series of sea trials during the next few weeks and we expect acceptance by the Navy later this year.”
“The high quality output from our Williamstown and Henderson shipyards reflects the significant effort and investment BAE Systems has made in its people, facilities and processes to ensure solid performance.
“Shipbuilding is about more than having highly skilled tradespeople capable of constructing large steel structures. You need a workforce that is experienced in engineering, consolidating, integrating and testing complex systems and bringing them all together from a ‘whole ship’ perspective.
“These complex activities are what brings these warships to life and makes them capable of performing their missions. We are doing this right now in Williamstown on this program and in our Henderson shipyard on the ANZAC frigates.”
Mr Saltzer said the progress achieved on the LHD project to date had been the result of a both a local and global team effort across a number of organisations including Navantia, L3, SAAB and the Defence Materiel Organisation.