Current naval shipbuilding projects in Williamstown include the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships and hull modules (blocks) for the Air Warfare Destroyers (AWD). The first LHD, HMAS CANBERRA (largest warship ever in the Royal Australian Navy fleet), was delivered last year and the second vessel, NUSHIP ADELAIDE, will be delivered later this year. BAE Systems has already delivered all of the Air Warfare Destroyer blocks contracted to us for ships 1 and 2. Two blocks for ship 3 have been accepted and the remaining eight blocks under contract are all in production and will be progressively completed between now and early 2016. At that point, without new orders, all shipbuilding activity in Victoria will be completed.
Director of Maritime, BAE Systems Australia, Bill Saltzer said: “We are a project-based business and our employee numbers must match the needs and status of our ongoing and upcoming projects at any given time. Whilst there has not been any new naval vessel contracts awarded since 2008, we are pleased to hear the recent statements from the Prime Minister and Minister for Defence acknowledging the strategic importance of the Australian naval shipbuilding industry and the need for a continuous production plan that will allow the companies in the industry to build ships with world class quality and productivity. We have been advocating this position for several years in an attempt to avoid the reductions that are now becoming necessary.
“The Company, and our highly capable shipbuilders here in Williamstown, are eagerly awaiting the actions that must be taken in order to achieve this outcome. We have invested in our people, in our facilities, and in our technologies in our shipyards in Victoria and Western Australia in order to ensure that our shipbuilding capability is able to efficiently deliver highly complex and technically advanced warships to the Royal Australian Navy.
“I am proud of the continuous improvements in productivity and quality that our shipbuilders have achieved since starting production on the LHDs and AWD blocks in 2010. We are ready to commit to even higher levels of efficiency if the Government implements a naval ship procurement plan that supports continuous levels of production.”