Defence shipbuilder Austal will cement its successful track record with a remit to construct and maintain up to 21 steel-hulled Pacific Patrol Boats at Henderson in Western Australia, a program worth more than $500 million.
The latest commission is part of a $40 billion plan to build 42 naval ships, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised 2,500 long-term defence construction jobs for Adelaide and Perth.
“With an announcement pending on the preferred designer for the $50 billion new submarines, the Federal Government deserves credit for bringing clarity and certainty to Australia’s defence industry,” said Australian Industry Group Chief Executive Innes Willox.
The plan to implement a continuous naval shipbuilding plan recognises the agility and capability of Australia’s naval construction industry.
Initial construction of 12 offshore patrol vessels in Adelaide in 2018 will be followed by transfer to Henderson, Western Australia, when the Adelaide shipbuilders are scheduled to begin construction on nine new frigates. The nine frigates – themselves a $35 billion program that will employ more than 2000 people – will be designed either by Britain’s BAE Systems, Italy’s Fincantieri or Spain’s Navantia.
Austal has been a leader in the design, construction and maintenance of ships for governments, navies and ferry operators around the world for over 27 years, delivering more than 255 vessels.
It has been at the forefront of the high speed ferry market since the early days of the industry, and its market-leading designs of high performance aluminium vessels have been at the heart of the company’s research and development. The firm already has a proven record of excellence in building a fleet of major naval vessels for the United States Navy, most recently a 10-ship program worth $1.6 billion.
Austal’s expertise centres on integrating complex systems into its ships, including ride control, ship management, and communication, sensors and weapon systems.
“We look forward to extending this by constructing and servicing vessels that will be used by many of our neighbours in the South Pacific,” said David Singleton, Chief Executive at Austal, which has delivered Australia’s entire border patrol capability of 30 vessels in the past 17 years.
“Construction of the Pacific Patrol Boats extends Austal’s shipbuilding capability into steel-hulled vessels, which will be important for the future construction of Offshore Patrol Vessels.”
Defence vessels designed and built by Austal include multi-mission combatants, such as the Littoral Combat Ship, and military high speed vessels for transport and humanitarian relief, such as the Expeditionary Fast Transport, both for the United States Navy, as well as its High Speed Support Vessel (HSSV) for the Royal Navy of Oman.
Austal also designs, constructs and maintains a range of patrol and auxiliary vessels for government agencies globally, including the Cape Class Patrol Boat Program for Australia.
Aside from Henderson, its vessels are also designed and constructed in Mobile, Alabama.