Australian firm REDARC Defense & Space has won a $23 million contract to supply 12,600 LED lights for the first batch of three Hunter-class warships. The contract is the culmination of a five-year collaboration between REDARC and UK-based MARL International which will see Lonsdale-based REDARC lead the manufacture and delivery of lighting and related parts for anti-submarine warfare frigates. -Navy of the Royal Australian Navy.
BAE Systems Australia is working closely with the Commonwealth to build Australian industrial capacity by contracting small and medium-sized Australian companies that work with the supply chain for the Type 26 frigates, under construction in the UK. The Hunter-class frigates to be built at Osborne Shipyard in South Australia are based on BAE Systems’ Type 26 reference vessel design.
REDARC Defense & Space partners with MARL International to manufacture and supply 79 different types of lights for each frigate, including berth and flood lights, deck and step lights, general and emergency lights.
Shipbuilders working on the Hunter program are currently building five prototype ship blocks to test and refine processes, systems, tools, facilities and workforce skills prior to the construction of four Hunter ship blocks in May 2023, which should be used in the first ship. BAE Systems Australia has already contracted over 50 Australian companies to support the prototyping phase of Hunter, and as the program progresses it will engage more local companies to manufacture, supply and assemble equipment and parts for the first three frigates.
Craig Lockhart, Maritime Managing Director of BAE Systems Australia, said: “I welcome the partnership between REDARC Defense & Space and MARL International, which will allow Australians to manufacture thousands of lights and related parts for the first batch of three frigates from Hunter class. We will continue to work closely with the Commonwealth and support the growth of Australian Industry Capacity (AIC) and to this end we anticipate that in future batches of ships the percentage of Australian content will increase. The construction of the AIC generates jobs, local prosperity and know-how, supporting continued shipbuilding for Hunter and beyond.
REDARC Managing Director and Owner Anthony Kittel said, “REDARC Defense & Space is delighted to be awarded this contract with BAE Systems to manufacture and supply LED lighting for the formidable fleet of Hunter-class frigates. We are delighted with the relationship we have mutually developed with our UK partner, MARL, to ensure the transfer of this technology to Australia. Being able to provide exceptional quality marine LED lights – manufactured, serviced and supported in Australia – is a big step for us. This contract will allow REDARC Defense & Space to further develop our defense workforce and develop our current staff as well as our Australian supply chain.
MARL International Managing Director, Adrian Rawlinson, said: “In 2017, MARL immediately saw the benefits of the growing capability of Australian industry and, with the help of BAE Systems Australia, was able to quickly partner at REDARC. Together we will deliver a superb lighting solution for Hunter Class Frigates, delivering industry leading operational performance, lower lifetime costs and environmental benefits. We hope to now be able to work together to support other maritime lighting and defense programs in Australasia.