ASC helps keep the Royal Australian Navy in ship shape
When the Royal Australian Navy were looking for a company to build its most advanced warship ever, they didn’t pick just anybody. They picked ASC Pty Ltd. Needless to say, it’s a responsibility ASC and their GM for shipbuilding Schemko Bialek take seriously. With ASC as lead shipbuilder and Raytheon Australia as the combat system integrator, the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance has already seen two Hobart Class ships commissioned into Navy service, with the final one set for delivery in early 2020. It’s a journey that for ASC began in 2005 and really honed their skills.
“ASC built up a highly skilled shipbuilding capability throughout the AWD program — reaching a peak workforce of more than 1500 shipbuilders in 2015,” Bialek told VENTURE. “This shipbuilding capability is a national resource that can now be leveraged for future naval shipbuilding programs. ASC is proud to have played an integral role in enhancing Australia’s shipbuilding capability, laying the foundation for continuous naval shipbuilding in Australia.”
ASC designed and built the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide for the AWD program. It opened in 2010, and the first two Hobart Class destroyers were consolidated, launched, and completed there. It’s now undergoing expansion to prepare for next year’s commencement of work on the Hunter Class frigate program. The shipyard redevelopment is being led by owner Australian Naval Infrastructure and lead contractor Lend Lease. The Hunter Class frigates will be delivered by ASC Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of BAE Systems Australia since December last year.
Because the AWDs are so technically complex, there is a learning curve for the ship crews to get a feel for the vessels. ASC and its alliance partners developed training packages and documentation for the AWD program to ensure a seamless transition to the Navy’s commissioning process. ASC also provides expert training to the Navy’s submariner training centre in Western Australia, where all Australian submariners who serve on the fleet of six Collins Class submarines are located.
Though it is not involved in the Hunter Class frigate program, ASC’s contributions are not limited to the three AWDs. Working with prime contractor Luerssen Australia, ASC is the shipbuilder for the first two Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs). It is building those two OPVs at Osborne before operations move to Henderson, WA, where Luerssen and Civmec will produce a further 10 OPVs.
The OPVs will undertake maritime patrols and response duties, using state-of-the-art sensors and communications systems to operate alongside Australian Border Force vessels, other Australian Defence Force units, and other regional partners, Bialek said.
One thing that sets ASC apart is the company’s status as the first defence company to earn Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) certification. Bialek said that honour was a result of “ensuring we meet international best practice in procurement to benefit our customers, the Royal Australian Navy, as well as our many suppliers and the thousands of people they employ.
“Over several months, ASC underwent an in-depth examination of its purchasing policies, processes, and procedures to ensure alignment against the global CIPS corporate benchmarks. As a result of this in-depth review, ASC was awarded CIPS Corporate Standard certification and was provided with a detailed report which included assessors’ commentary on the outcomes and recommendations for further improvement.”
“ASC’s 1,300-strong workforce is the nations’ leading submarine platform and shipbuilding management workforce and is excited to be a part of Australia’s historic build-up in navy capability,” Bialek said. “ASC personnel can look forward to a range of professional challenges across multiple programs in the years ahead, including Collins Class and Attack Class submarines, as well as our existing shipbuilding operations.”
He attributed the continued success to ASC’s six core values: “The Safety of our people and those who serve on the naval vessels we work on is our first priority. We are a customer-focused organisation committed to Service and adding value to our customer relationships. Innovation is fostered as a key way to achieve continuous improvement. Leadership is practiced by championing high performance, empowering others, and celebrating success. By taking responsibility and seeking excellence, we achieve the best results for our customer. ASC’s core value of Integrity means we honour our commitments and act honestly and earn the trust of our customers, partners, and suppliers.”
Now that’s something to build on.