Local partnership delivers world-leading ‘smarts’ to shipbuilding


Dr Wolfgang Mayer, Senior Lecturer UniSA, Dr Andrew Cunningham, Lecturer UniSA and Dr Anastasia Kuusk, BAE Systems are members of the research team.

In a partnership set to deliver world-leading manufacturing technologies to the Hunter Class Frigate Program, Australia’s Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC), the University of South Australia and BAE Australia’s shipbuilding business, ASC Shipbuilding, will make a co-investment worth more than $4 million in data visualisation research.

The research, which will be spearheaded by UniSA, will drive the development of digital manufacturing (Industry 4.0), improve shipyard planning and add unique data analytics and problem-solving capacity to the Hunter program, which will deliver nine world-leading anti-submarine frigates to the Royal Australian Navy.

The research outcomes and findings from the project will prepare Australian industry for a future that is driven by digital innovation.

IMCRC CEO Managing Director, David Chuter, says the partnership will ensure the Hunter class frigates are built using some of the most sophisticated innovations in manufacturing while developing extraordinary capabilities and ongoing capacity for Australian shipbuilding and manufacturing.

“This partnership will provide enduring and uniquely Australian sovereign industrial capability and advance and mobilise local manufacturers, particular small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to support Australia’s naval shipbuilding strategy for generations to come,” Chuter says.

Federal Minister for Industry Science and Technology, Karen Andrews says the project represents innovation at its most powerful – embracing technology and a new way of doing things to improve production.

“Not only will harnessing data visualisation research help the Hunter program itself, it will also assist critical local supply chains and future projects across the manufacturing landscape,” Andrews says.

“This type of industry-led innovation that can be applied in a range of different settings will be key to charting our COVID-19 economic recovery.”

The Hunter class frigates will be the world’s first bow-to-stern digitally designed anti-submarine warfare frigate, and each ship involves highly complex supply chains.