www.indopacificexpo.com.auThe Hunter class frigate program has received quite a bit of criticism lately – including from APDR – but prime contractor BAE Systems says that much of this has been misplaced. To summarise the negatives: there has already been a two-year delay in the schedule; the RAN ships are heavier than the Royal Navy Type 26 reference design; and the Australian-specific design changes are more significant than anticipated.

We tackled all these items during a briefing with BAE Systems Craig Lockhart – Managing Director of ASC Shipbuilding – and started with the situation regarding the Type 26 Global Combat Ship, of which an initial batch of three are under contract for the RN. The design was selected by Australia because of the emphasis on anti-submarine warfare capabilities and the timeline for its construction, which is four years in advance of the RAN project.

In principle, this means that during construction – and especially during sea trials – any problems discovered on the parent ship could be fixed and the results fed back into the Australian build. The reality has proven more complex, with the first of the City class being constructed at Govan in Scotland experiencing weight growth even at quite an early stage. Referring to the future HMS Glasgow, Mr Lockhart explained:

“The Type 26 – being a new design – did have some problems in the early stages. Most of those related to the maturity of parts and equipment going into the ship. The platform itself was relatively design mature – and a balance was achieved giving priority to its anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

“This is a very dense ship in terms of its systems and detailed design. It is also a unique ship in that all of its elements have been subjected to extremely exacting design criteria for noise, shock, vibration and survivability. This is to ensure that it is the most capable ASW frigate operating anywhere in the world.

“When equipment started arriving from suppliers there was quite a considerable difference in weight, space enveloped and form, fit & function from the suppliers to what had originally been specified.”

This is an excerpt from APDR. To read the full story, click here.

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Kym Bergmann
Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.


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