BAE Systems Maritime Australia

Accelerating the uptake and diffusion of innovative manufacturing technologies in Australian shipbuilding and supply chain: the human factor

Research partner
Flinders University

Total Project Value (AUD)

IMCRC Funding (AUD)

Start date

2.7 years

BAE Systems Maritime Australia’s partnership with IMCRC includes two distinct research projects for the Hunter Class Frigate Program:

  • a research project with Flinders University that involves local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and focuses on driving digital transformation through advanced robotics, assistive manufacturing and readiness for Industry 4.0 utilisation.
  • a data visualisation research project with the University of South Australia.

According to Sharon Wilson, BAE Systems Australia’s Continuous National Shipbuilding Director, the IMCRC-facilitated projects are a benchmark for industry research collaboration.

“As a key enabler of the Government’s vision for sovereign defence capability, we have a responsibility to drive innovation in manufacturing and engage with Australian research and industry partners on that journey,” she said.

“Our engagement with our research and industry partners through the IMCRC has made a significant impression on multiple areas of our business, at both technical and non-technical levels.”
That sentiment is echoed by Evangelos Lambrinos, BAE Systems Australia’s Export and Innovation Manager (Hunter Class).

“The collaboration between all research and industry partners across the projects has been outstanding,” he said.

“In the past, project research and industry teams were siloed. But, no more.”

“The integration of the researchers into our sites has been seamless – a true collaboration built on mutual respect and a shared vision of what we want to achieve together.”

While the research projects are still underway and their full outcomes yet to be determined, for Wilson their legacy is assured in the world-class ship building capability they have helped to develop.

“These IMCRC projects have redefined the role of research collaboration and leadership in an industrial environment,” she said.

“Our ability to engage our workforce and SME partners on emerging Industry 4.0 technologies and show them not only the art of the possible but, more importantly, how they are central to our transformation has been a game changer.”

“Meanwhile, our ability to share our data visualisation research with the wider industry, including our SME partners, has strengthened those relationships – which will no doubt translate into further opportunities for collaboration.”

Innovative manufacturing technologies in Australian shipbuilding

Research collaboration to develop and test Industry 4.0 technologies


While the impact of the research projects on our capabilities is highly visible and tangible, we recognise that the engagement with IMCRC also yields benefits for our broader organisational culture through the highly collaborative processes and reinforcement of an innovation mindset.

Sharon Wilson
Continuous National Shipbuilding Director, BAE Systems Australia