Australia’s A$8 billion project to build new air warfare destroyers has encountered a major setback. According to press reports, the Melbourne shipyard building modules for the new ships has ‘botched’ the construction of the first central keel block, making it incompatible with blocks being built at other shipyards in Adelaideand Newcastle.

The AWD Alliance overseeing the project has admitted to difficulties in the block fabrication of the first ship which would affect production schedules. The admission came amid rumours that the central keel block of the first vessel was built to inaccurate dimensions, caused by poor welding and deficient quality control. The mistake is believed to have triggered a rift between the Williamstown shipyard and Navantia, the warship’s designer.