Australian business REDARC Defence & Space has been awarded a $23 million contract to supply 12,600 LED lights for the first batch of three Hunter class warships. The contract is the culmination of a five-year collaboration between REDARC and UK company MARL International which will see Lonsdale-based REDARC lead the manufacture and delivery of lighting and related parts for the Royal Australian Navy’s anti-submarine warfare frigates.
BAE Systems Australia is working closely with the Commonwealth to build Australian industrial capability by contracting small and medium Australian businesses that are collaborating with the supply chain for the Type 26 frigates, under construction in the UK. The Hunter class frigates to be built at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia are based on BAE Systems’ reference ship Type 26 design.
REDARC Defence & Space is partnering with MARL International to manufacture and supply 79 different types of lights for each frigate, including bunk and flood lights, weatherdeck and step lights, general and emergency lights.
Shipbuilders working on the Hunter program are currently manufacturing five prototype ship blocks to test and refine the processes, systems, tools, facilities and workforce skills ahead of construction of four Hunter ship blocks in May 2023, planned to be used in the first ship. BAE Systems Australia has already placed contracts with more than 50 Australian businesses to support Hunter’s prototyping phase, and as the program progresses will contract more local companies for equipment and parts manufacture, supply and assembly for the first three frigates.
BAE Systems Australia, Maritime Managing Director Craig Lockhart said: “I welcome the partnership between REDARC Defence & Space and MARL International, which will lead to Australians manufacturing thousands of lights and related parts for the first batch of three Hunter class frigates. We will continue to collaborate closely with the Commonwealth and support the growth of Australian industry capability (AIC) and to that end, we expect that in future ship batches the percentage of Australian content will increase. Building AIC generates jobs, local prosperity and know-how, supporting continuous naval shipbuilding for Hunter and beyond.”
REDARC’s Managing Director and owner, Anthony Kittel, said: “REDARC Defence & Space is delighted to win this contract with BAE Systems to manufacture & supply LED lights for the formidable fleet of Hunter class frigates. We are thrilled with the relationship we have mutually developed with our UK partner, MARL, to ensure the transfer of this technology to Australia. Being able to deliver exceptionally high quality maritime LED lights – manufactured, sustained and supported in Australia – is a great step for us. This contract will allow REDARC Defence & Space to further grow our defence workforce and upskill our current staff as well as our Australian supply chain.”
MARL International Managing Director, Adrian Rawlinson, said: “Back in 2017, MARL could immediately see the benefits of growing Australian Industry Capability and with help from BAE Systems Australia were able to quickly partner with REDARC. Between us we will supply a superb lighting solution for the Hunter class frigates, delivering state-of-the-art operational performance, reduced through-life costs and environmental benefits. We are hoping we can now work together to support other maritime and defence lighting programs within Australasia.”