Australia is constructing three Air Warfare Destroyers (AWD) & Defence Ministry has been advised it best to allow more time between each keel-laying.
Minister for Defence Stephen Smith, Minister for Finance and Deregulation Senator Penny Wong and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare attended the laying of the keel of the first Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) in Adelaide and provided an update on the $8 billion project.
ASC in Adelaide is the principal shipbuilder in the project. BAE Systems in Melbourne, Forgacs in Newcastle and Navantia in Spain are also building modular blocks which will be brought together by ASC at the South Australian Government’s Common User Facility in Adelaide where the ships are being assembled.
At the keel-laying ceremony of the first AWD Hobart, Minister Smith and Minister Clare announced a re-baselining of the AWD construction schedule, the AWD Alliance having conducted a detailed analysis of the construction schedule and advised Defence that the keel to keel interval should be extended to 18 months between each ship.
Defence Department decided that extending the AWD ship building program will help avoid a decline in naval shipbuilding skills before the commencement of Australia’s largest and most complex Naval project – the Future Submarine.
They also considered that the revised AWD project plan will reduce peak demand on project critical resources and facilities, and reduces project risk, but that the new schedule will not increase the cost of the project nor result in the loss of any jobs.
It was also concluded that the re-baselined construction schedule will help Navy reduce the challenge and risks associated with accepting into service two major capabilities (Landing Helicopter Dock Ships and the Air Warfare Destroyer) at around the same time.
The re-baselined schedule will mean the delivery dates for the ships will be for HMAS Hobart (AWD01) – March 2016; HMAS Brisbane (AWD02) – September 2017 and HMAS Sydney (AWD03) – March 2019.