BAE Systems Australia has completed the first steel block prototype of a Hunter-class frigate for the Royal Australian Navy.
The block, which equals the size of two average Australian houses (452 square meters/4,900 square feet), was constructed at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia as part of the Hunter Class Frigate Program.
The steel block, dubbed “Block 16,” is one of five prototypes the firm will produce to test tools, systems, facilities, and processes before beginning construction of the vessel. The actual frigate model consists of 22 blocks.
Ship construction experts, including boiler makers, engineers, fabricators, welders, and project managers, came together to build the 140-ton (140,000 kilograms) prototype segment.
By 2023, BAE Systems Australia will produce more ship blocks to incorporate changes for future Hunter-class frigates. One of the first three ships (HMA Hunter, HMA Flinders II, and HMA Tasman) will use these modified blocks as its actual parts.
“Throughout construction of the first prototype ship block, our highly-skilled workforce has been able to incorporate new, more efficient and effective ship-build methods and innovations into our processes,” BAE Systems Australia Maritime Managing Director Craig Lockhart said.