- A.N. Other and NHSA Webmaster
- Ship design and development
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- March 1987 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
A TECHNIQUE successfully employed by Germany for the building of U boats is being employed in the building of the two guided missile frigates building in Australia. The frigates FFG5 and FFG6 are being laid down at Williamstown Naval Dockyard and will join the four American-built vessels already in service.
The hull of FFG5 is taking shape at Williamstown and the superstructure has been built in modules at Garden Island Dockyard in Sydney. The superstructure is manufactured of aluminium rolled to Navy specification and welded to techniques developed for the project. FFG5’s superstructure was completed in early January and was loaded in the Navy’s heavy lift amphibious ship HMAS Tobruk for transport to Williamstown on 17 January. The two modules consist of the main two storey deck structure and the pilothouse bridge. On arrival at Williamstown the modules were unloaded by floating crane and placed alongside the incomplete hull for swinging into position and welding in place.
Negotiations are in progress for the fabrication of the mast assembly for FFG5 at Garden Island Dockyard and this is expected to be complete for erection in the vessel at the scheduled production date. The Germans developed the technique to speed up production of their submarine fleet in 1943 and 1944. Sections of the U boats were built as far away as Poland and transported by rail to the assembly yard, usually Kiel, and rivetted together. The project not only increased production but drastically reduced costs. The application of the technique to the FFG programme is hoped to achieve similar results and usher in a new era in shipbuilding and large metal fabrication in Australia.