The Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Project has reached a significant milestone as the keel-laying ceremony held in Adelaide marked the beginning of the new era in Australia’s manufacturing and shipbuilding industry.
According to the news release issued by Premier Jay Weatherill, the ceremony marked the onset of the consolidation of the second warship on the State Government’s Techport Australia Common User Facility.
“The keel laying ceremony is an important shipyard and naval tradition, to bring good luck through the construction and life of the ship,” said Premier Weatherill.
“It continues the progress on the $8 billion AWD project, the largest and most complex defence project in Australia. The first ship is nearly fully consolidated and blocks are underway for the third ship.”
The Premier further added that the state’s investment of more than $300 million in Techport Australia would prove to be beneficial for thousands of South Australians and local supporters.
“Currently, some 1800 people are directly working on the project in Adelaide out of a national workforce of more than 2800 people,” he said.
“Using cutting edge technology and innovative manufacturing practices, this project epitomises South Australia’s advanced manufacturing future.”
According to Mr Weatherill, the State Government’s investment in Techport Australia was aimed at making it a national strategic asset which would support the delivery of the country’s future naval fleet including the massive Future Submarine project.
Defence Industries Minister Jack Snelling said South Australia’s word class shipbuilding infrastructure and critical mass of skilled workers would position the state at the forefront for getting any future defence work.
“As a nation, we will spend up to $250 billion building and maintaining naval ships and submarines over the next 30 years,” Mr Snelling said.
“This will provide unprecedented opportunities for South Australia as The Defence State and indeed the entire nation. We stand ready to support Commonwealth Government policy and project decisions that will hopefully ensure long-term sustainability of Australia’s future naval shipbuilding and sustainment capability.”
90 separate steel blocks, 30 for each ship and a sonar block per ship will be needed for the construction of the AWDs that will be conducted at a number of shipyards in the country and abroad.
The ships are being assembled at the South Australian-owned Techport Australia Common User Facility by ASC, which is the main shipbuilder in the project. BAE Systems in Melbourne, Forgacs in Newcastle and Navantia in Spain also part of the block building process.
After the completion of the consolidation process, the destroyers will be launched using Techport Australia’s shiplift and then undergo a series of exhaustive trials and tests before they are delivered to the Navy.