BAE Systems kickstarts manufacturing of proof-of-concept mast for Hunter class frigates

Image credit: BAE Systems Australia

BAE Systems Australia’s team in Henderson, Western Australia, has begun construction work on the proof-of-concept mast for the Hunter Class Frigate Program. 

Using the latest mast manufacturing techniques, the team is building aluminium masts for the Anzac class frigates, namely Anti-Ship Missile Defence and SEA 1448 projects, while the Hunter class frigates are being built at the Osborne Naval Shipyard. 

In a media release, BAE Systems said the first steps have been taken, with the manufacture of eight different types of jigs, which are individually purpose-built constructions that support the different components of the mast throughout the manufacturing process. 

Each Hunter class frigate will be comprised of 22 blocks, 21 of which will be constructed in Osborne. The remaining one, which is the mast, is slated to be manufactured at Henderson and then shipped to Osborne for installation. 

The mast will incorporate CEA Technologies’ CEA phased array radar to equip the ships with a world-class detection system. 

After the jigs have been completed, the proof-of-concept mast will begin construction in early 2024. The team leading the work will include design engineers, manufacturing engineers, and tradespeople from Melbourne, Osborne, and Henderson. 

“Our years of sustaining and upgrading the Anzac class has built up a wealth of knowledge at Henderson in mast-building, and the application of this expertise on the Hunter program is a great example of BAE Systems Australia being able to leverage capability across multiple sites,” said Greg Laxton, sustainment director for BAE Systems Australia – Maritime. 

“This is a great example of our Continuous Naval Shipbuilding strategy in action – we are sharing work across multiple sites to support jobs and growth in different states, as well as minimising risk.”