BAE Systems has formalised a deal to source almost 50,000 tonnes of Australian steel to build Future Frigates for the SEA 5000 programme, should it win the tendering process.
Under the agreement, Bluescope Steel and Liberty OneSteel will provide steel components for BAE's Global Combat Ship-Australia (GCS-A), a variant of the Type 26 Anti Submarine Warship currently used in the UK's Royal Navy.
“For SEA 5000 we are committed to building the Future Frigates in Australia using Australian suppliers at every opportunity. This includes maximising the use of Australian steel on the program. We are proud to support the Australian steel industry throughout our business and will grow that support if we are successful on SEA 5000," said BAE Systems Australia CEO Gabby Costigan.
Liberty OneSteel will provide structural steel sections for the Future Frigates from its Whyalla facility, as well as products for 4000 tonnes of structural steel for shipbuilding infrastructure. BlueScope will provide plate steel which will be manufactured at its facility in Port Kembla, NSW.
"It’s vital for the future of our industry that government projects adopt an Australian-made focus, so we commend BAE Systems for prioritising local products and services and trust this focus will assist in its bid," said OneSteel chairman Sanjeev Gupta.
"SEA 5000 provides an opportunity to build on the decades-long industrial and shipbuilding partnership between Australia and the UK – one founded on trust and capability. From our perspective it will be a positive for our Whyalla operations, as it would represent another order on the books and assist in our strategy to increase utilisation of the plant."
BlueScope is already working with Rheinmetall to deliver armoured steel for processing and supply to local and export military vehicle programmes, including LAND 400 Phase 2.