The prototyping phase of the Australian government’s Hunter Class Frigate Program is one step closer, with West Australian company Altrad Services contracted to provide blast and paint services. The prime contractor for the Hunter program, ASC Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of BAE Systems Australia, has signed the contract with Altrad Services after a competitive tender process.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the contract signing is a testament to the truly national endeavour of the government’s Hunter Class Frigate Program. “This prototyping work is essential to ensure that workers are trained in the systems and processes prior to the beginning of the construction of Navy’s nine Hunter class anti-submarine warfare frigates in 2022,” Reynolds said. Through this government’s up to A$183 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan we are strengthening Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capability for generations to come, which will play a crucial part in supporting Australia’s economy and jobs growth. The Hunter Class frigates, which will be built at Osborne in South Australia by Australian workers, will support jobs across Australia as the economy continues to recover from COVID-19.”

Altrad Services will prepare the steel supplied by BlueScope Steel AIS by blasting it and painting it with a primer, prior to being cut and fabricated into blocks. The completed blocks will then pass through the new block paint facility, ensuring the blocks are in a condition to paint and be ready to be transformed into prototype blocks. During prototyping, the processes, systems, tools, facilities and workforce competencies will be established, tested and refined before construction commences on the first Hunter class frigate in 2022.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said this contract was all about delivering on the government’s commitment to supporting Australian jobs in the defence industry. “As we come back from the COVID-19 recession, businesses like Altrad Services in Perth will play a critical role in keeping Australians in a job,” Price said. “Now more than ever, it is so important that we continue to deliver unprecedented opportunities to Australian industry in this program. Our defence industry in WA is already one of the great success stories of advanced manufacturing which is delivering jobs for Australia. Support for Altrad Services is another example of how we are backing defence jobs in the West. It’s also another sign of how the Morrison Government is working to keep the Australian defence industry strong on our road to economic recovery.”


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