Propellers for Australia’s elite submarine-hunting warships are one-step nearer to being made in Australia, delivering a important native functionality that may have the ability to be utilized in future naval ship-build packages. BAE Programs Australia who will construct 9 anti-submarine warfare Hunter class frigates for the Royal Australian Navy, has awarded WA-based firm VEEM a $1.76m contract to fabricate two prototype propeller blades and a propeller hub beneath the steering of OEM Kongsberg Maritime. That is the ultimate check of VEEM’s functionality to fabricate to the Hunter’s stringent necessities and is a major milestone for the Perth-based marine know-how firm, because it endeavours to turn into a Defence-qualified warship propeller producer for the Hunter program. By means of the Hunter Class Frigate Program, BAE Programs is dedicated to maximising alternatives for Australian trade.

Since 2020, VEEM has been supported by marine know-how firm Kongsberg Maritime, which is the propeller provider for BAE Programs’ Sort 26 frigates at the moment beneath building within the UK. The Hunter class frigate design is predicated on the Sort 26. Ought to VEEM’s prototype propellers meet necessities and go Kongsberg Maritime’s high quality approvals, it’s going to pave the best way for VEEM to be down-selected for the subsequent part – propeller manufacture for the primary batch of three Hunter class frigates. VEEM is anticipated to start work on the prototype propeller blades at its Canning Vale facility in November 2022, and can full the work by March 2024. The blades would be the similar weight and dimension of these on the Hunter class, however they received’t be used on the primary warship as they are going to be topic to harmful testing to confirm procedures that might be used within the manufacturing course of.


BAE Programs Australia Managing Director — Maritime, Craig Lockhart, mentioned:“I’m delighted VEEM is progressing with its journey to hitch the Hunter class frigate provide chain, and congratulate Kongsberg Maritime for supporting VEEM and our efforts to develop Australian trade functionality (AIC). Constructing AIC is extra than simply spending cash in Australia – it’s about working with small and medium native firms to make sure they’ve the proper cyber safety techniques in place, the proper gear and instruments and the proper workforce to fabricate and assemble elements of what’s arguably probably the most advanced warship on Earth. We have now already positioned contracts with greater than 50 Australian companies to assist the Hunter program’s prototyping part, and we’re near contracting extra native firms for gear and elements manufacture, provide and meeting for the primary three Hunter class frigates.”

Native Western Australian firm VEEM_Ltd might be manufacturing 2 prototype propeller blades and a propeller hub for the Hunter program, beneath the steering of KOGMaritime. (Photograph BAE System)

Kongsberg Maritime (KM) Pty Ltd Nation Supervisor, Jamie Kilsby, mentioned: “KM recognise AIC is a basic and important part of Australian Defence-related shipbuilding and sustainment. Nothing painted a brighter gentle on the necessity for home functionality than the intensive journey restrictions COVID positioned on all of us. We shortly learnt throughout COVID lockdowns if the potential wasn’t right here, it wasn’t getting right here. Not solely are we very pleased with the casting and machining capabilities of the VEEM organisation however culturally they’ve been glorious to work with and are testomony to the Australian ‘can do’ perspective. We’re very a lot trying ahead to growing this relationship with VEEM by way of the Hunter program and different Commonwealth shipbuilding and sustainment packages.”

VEEM Managing Director, Mark Miocevich, mentioned: “We’re excited that the undertaking is transferring nearer to full manufacturing. This undertaking brings with it immense challenges that to this point our group, working collaboratively with all companions, have efficiently met. I’m very pleased with our group engaged on this undertaking and are delighted that the sharing of VEEM’s and Kongsberg’s many years of data will be put to make use of on what’s a extremely specialised software. We’re notably enthusiastic about the potential for additionally supplying to different T26 packages all over the world. The undertaking will convey funding, employment and key sovereign industrial functionality into Western Australia at a time the place it’s evident how simply international provide chains will be disrupted.”

The Hunter-class frigate is a future class of heavy frigates for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to exchange the Anzac class. Development is anticipated to start in 2022, with the primary of 9 vessels to enter service in 2031. The Program is anticipated to value AU$35 billion and a request for tender was launched in March 2017 to 3 contenders: Navantia, Fincantieri, and BAE Programs as a part of a aggressive analysis course of. Shipbuilders engaged on the Hunter program are at the moment manufacturing 5 prototype ship blocks to check and refine the processes, techniques, instruments, services and workforce abilities forward of building of the primary Hunter ship blocks in Could 2023, which is able to turn into a part of the primary ship. The 9 Hunter class frigates, which might be constructed on the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia, will present the Royal Australian Navy with submarine-hunting and warfighting functionality for many years to come back.