Australia’s shipbuilding capability is being bolstered by a surge in the number of locals heading overseas to capture critical knowledge and bring it back home.
By the end of the year, more than 50 employees from BAE Systems Australia’s shipbuilding business, ASC Shipbuilding, will be on secondment to the UK to gain a deeper understanding of the Type 26 anti-submarine warfare frigates, currently under construction in Glasgow, Scotland.
This knowledge transfer body of work will bring the design, processes, intellectual property, supply chain and knowledge from the Type 26 program to Australia – a key component of building sovereign shipbuilding capability and continuous naval shipbuilding for future generations.
ASC Shipbuilding will deliver the Hunter Class Frigate Program, building nine frigates for the Royal Australian Navy that are based on BAE Systems’ Type 26 design.
Currently 38 ASC Shipbuilding employees, based at BAE Systems’ sites in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, are on secondment in Glasgow on assignments ranging from a few months to two years, while there are currently six UK knowledge transfer assignees working in Australia.
By the end of the year, it is expected a further 16 ASC Shipbuilding employees – 54 in total – will be seconded to work in Glasgow.
As well, Rolls-Royce and Australia-based marine engineering company Taylor Bros have each seconded an employee to the Type 26 program to share knowledge about Australian requirements and gain an understanding of what we will inherit.
Managing Director ASC Shipbuilding, Craig Lockhart, said: “ASC Shipbuilding’s knowledge transfer program will make a significant contribution to a sovereign shipbuilding capability for Australia by transferring the knowledge, tools, processes and data needed for continuous naval shipbuilding. It’s also another excellent example of our supply chain working together.
“By embedding themselves in Glasgow, where the cutting-edge Naval Ships business is built on more than 150 years of shipbuilding experience, our employees and our partners will gain a detailed understanding of the know-how and know-why of the Type 26 design and build.
“When they return to Australia, they can take that knowledge and apply it to the Australian context and together with the innovative and agile shipbuilding practices that are already evident in the Osborne Naval Shipyard, they will not only build the nine Hunter class frigates, but sovereign capability for Australia.”
Rob Madders, Managing Director Rolls-Royce Australia, said: “We’re delighted that our first secondee, a highly experienced engineer who has been working with our defence engineering team as part of the Amphibious and Afloat Support Group at Sydney’s Garden Island Naval Base, has joined the Australian engineering team at the BAE Systems Scotstoun Yard in Glasgow.
“Together with BAE Systems Australia, we are committed to transferring experience, knowledge and advanced engineering technology.”
Engineering Director Taylor Bros, Greg Taylor, said: “One of our naval architects who has five years’ experience outfitting the Air Warfare Destroyers at Osborne is currently on secondment in Scotland to share Australian outfitting requirements, and gain an understanding of the Hunter class frigate design that BAE Systems Australia will inherit.
“It’s exciting for Taylor Bros to be involved at such an early stage of the program.”