The Federal Government may cut Adelaide Ship builder ASC from the Air Warfare Destroyer project and hand the work to British company BAE Systems.
The Australian reports that by giving the work to BAE systems the government would be aiming to get the troubled $8.5 billion construction project back on track and, at the same time, save over 1,000 jobs at BAE’s Williamstown shipyard in Melbourne. If BAE fails to win new work next year the jobs will be lost.
The ABC reports that the government has not denied the Australian’s report.
In reference to the prospects of BAE systems, Defence Minister David Johnston told the ABC, "They're one of the candidates, they appear to have the credentials."
"I can't go into who's who in the zoo ... but we do need some competitive tension in there. This project is probably one of our most complex ever."
ASC chief executive Steve Ludlam recently quit from his position after five years as head of the shipbuilding company. The company’s involvement in the behind-schedule and over-budget’s air warfare destroyer is a major problem for the company.
A Defence white paper released yesterday reinforced fears that navy shipbuilding work such as the contract for new submarines may head overseas.
The paper describes the shipbuilding as one of the biggest defence issues and says that the decisions should be based on issues of capability. It says that manufacturing industry assistance or regional assistance should not be involved in the decision.