Australia to receive “digital shipyard” in Adelaide, frigate contender promises

Photo: BAE Systems

One of the contenders competing for the Royal Australian Navy’s $35 billion Future Frigate project has promised to transform Adelaide into a digital shipyard should it be awarded the lucrative contract.

BAE Systems Australia said it would transform Australia’s shipbuilding industry through the development of a digital ship yard in Adelaide.

“The digital shipyard will ensure that every aspect of the ship during the design and build and throughout its service life is live and accessible to the crew as well as all those involved in the maintenance and upgrades of the fleet and approved suppliers,” BAE Systems announced.

Digitisation will also bring the ‘ship to life’ during its service life. Intelligent systems, on board and linked to those ashore, will monitor the performance of the ship and its systems allowing ship’s staff to focus on the right tasks and ensuring that the right parts and specialist help are available before they are needed.

The digital shipyard will include an inventory of parts, including cost and acoustic signature, suppliers and their details, providing Australian industry the opportunity to improve upon all parts and systems used in the construction of the Global Combat Ship.

The design authority transfer will start in 2018, leveraging an investment of more than AUS$1.5 billion in design and engineering effort to date to develop the world’s most advanced warship. To support the transfer, A$100 million will be invested in an information and technology system to digitise the shipyard.

“Having a single point of truth in the design phase will mean that each of the nine ships will be replicated, which hasn’t been done in Australia previously and which will benefit every stage of the program including the upgrading and maintenance of the ships during service,” BAE Systems chief executive Glynn Phillips said.

“It will also be the first time in Australia, where a ship’s systems will have the ‘intelligence’ to report on its own performance and maintenance needs and have the ability to order both the maintenance and parts required prior to docking.”

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