Western Australian shipbuilder Austal is establishing a new design and project management office in Adelaide, South Australia, in a bid to secure a contract for the construction of Australian Navy offshore patrol vessels but also to support the company’s expansion into one of Australia’s two major shipbuilding hubs.
Austal said the new office will initially support preparations for the $3 billion offshore patrol vessel (OPV) project, which will see 12 vessels constructed for the Royal Australian Navy from 2018. It will also enable Austal to prepare for the Government’s Future Frigate project, comprising nine vessels to be constructed in Adelaide from 2020.
Austal has entered into a 50:50 joint venture partnership with German designer Fassmer for the OPV project. The effective, holistic transfer of this new OPV capability to Australian industry will enable local, high quality support for the Royal Australian Navy, build local industry capability and allow Austal – Australia’s largest defence exporter – to pursue new industry-building export opportunities.
Austal CEO David Singleton said “A clear point of difference with our (Austal Fassmer) OPV solution is that the customised, detailed design for the OPV80 will be completed by Australians in Australia; led by an internationally competitive, successful Australian shipbuilder.”
The new Adelaide office is set to be established from June 2017.
Other contenders for the construction of 12 new offshore patrol vessels are Dutch shipbuilder Damen, and German Luerssen. Both Damen and Luerssen have teamed up with Australian companies Civmec and ASC for the contract.