South Australian firm joins Future Frigates supply chain

| February 18, 2018

Adelaide company Rowlands Metalworks has been appointed as an approved Raytheon supplier to work on the navigational bridge consoles for the Future Frigates program in South Australia.

The deal came about after Raytheon was introduced to South Australian electronics company REDARC through the BAE Systems Global Access Program. REDARC then recommended Rowlands to construct the housing for the consoles.

Rowlands Managing Director Cameron Johnston said the rigorous vetting process and subsequent memorandum of understanding would allow his established company to bid for more work on other Raytheon projects, including non defence contracts.

“We’ve been in operation for more than 60 years now, supporting a broad range of industries and sectors and are delighted with the opportunity we can see to reach further into the defence industry with this deal,” Johnston said.

“There’s no doubt the South Australian defence industry is on the cusp of some very exciting times and we will now be well placed to make the most of the growth in the sector here in SA.”

Johnston said each of the nine navigation bridge consoles will cost more than $250,000, bringing the value of the contract to more than $2 million for Rowlands.

With a current team of 45 people, Johnston said the company could potentially grow its staff number by at least 50 per cent to service the new opportunity.

Construction is expected to start immediately after the contract is finalised in the coming months.

The Future Frigate Program (SEA 5000) will replace the Australian Navy’s 10 ANZAC-class ships and conduct anti-submarine and other naval operations. Construction is expected to begin in 2020, with the first of nine vessels to enter service in the late 2020s at a cost of AU$35 billion.

A request for tender was released in March 2017 to three contenders – Navantia, Fincantieri and BAE Systems – as part of a competitive evaluation process. A decision on a preferred tenderer is expected later this year.