Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that two more keel blocks had been delivered to Adelaide to construct Australia’s first Air Warfare Destroyer. This follows the delivery of the first keel block last month.
The blocks were constructed at the Williamstown shipyard in Melbourne. They were loaded on to barges last week and transported to Adelaide over the weekend.
Mr Clare said this was another step forward in the $8 billion project to construct three new warships for the Royal Australian Navy.
“This is Australia’s biggest shipbuilding project,” Mr Clare said. “90 separate blocks will be constructed to build the three most powerful warships the Royal Australian Navy has ever operated. About 70 blocks like this will be shipped to Adelaide over the next four years to be consolidated into Air Warfare Destroyers. These blocks weigh approximately 190 tonnes each. They are about 19 metres long, 17 metres wide and five metres high and will form part of the keel of the first warship – HMAS Hobart (III).”
The steel blocks are being built at shipyards in Adelaide (ASC), Melbourne (BAE Systems), Newcastle (Forgacs) and Ferrol, Spain (Navantia). Three sonar blocks are being constructed in Spain and the United Kingdom.
The blocks will now be removed from the barge and transported by a large multi-wheeled vehicle to the pre-fit-out facility. Further work on the blocks will then be completed including blast and paint, fitting pipes, installing communications and electrical cables and fitting internal walls.
Construction has begun on all main blocks for the first ship and work has also begun on blocks for the second ship, HMAS Brisbane (III). Next year work will begin on blocks for the third ship, HMAS Sydney (V) and the first ship will start to be consolidated in Adelaide.
Mr Clare thanked the more than 1,000 people currently working on the ships across the three Australian shipyards.
“The workers constructing these blocks are doing important work – building new warships for the Royal Australian Navy,” Mr Clare said.
“They’re working hard and I thank them for their efforts.”
Source: navy, September 28, 2011