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Austal closer to Navy win

AUSTAL Ships, in partnership with Defence Maritime Services, has won preferred tenderer status to build and support the Royal Australian Navy’s 12 new Armidale class patrol boats.

Federal Defence Minister Robert Hill said the final cost of the total contract, including build and through life maintenance for the boats would be about $550 million.

The joint venture beat off a bid from Tenix.

"The DMS/Austal offer was evaluated ahead of Tenix by a tender evaluation group on the basis that it offered the best value for money, meeting Def-ence’s patrol boat requirements in line with the criteria in the request for tender," Senator Hill said.

Once a contract is in place, Austal will begin building the first of the 12 56-metre patrol boats that will be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy over a 42-month period.

Austal managing director Bob McKinnon said: "Importantly, this will provide Austal with a steady base load of work for three-and-a-half years".

"At the same time our production capability enables us to simultaneously build ferries and other vessels and we will continue to vigorously pursue new contracts in these markets.

"Even being short-listed for the RAN project has been a boost to our credibility in the international market for defence vessels and it certainly contributed to our ability to secure the order from the Middle East."

Austal secured an order in June for 10 high-speed patrol boats for the Middle East.

The Armidale class boats will operate out of Cairns and Darwin and will be a replacement for the ageing Fremantle class patrol boats.

They are expected to be able to operate for longer periods of time and in more sea conditions than the Fremantle class boats.

DMS is a joint venture between Serco and P&O Maritime services that pro-vides port services wherever the Navy has bases in Australia.

In other news, Austal has appointed Alinta CEO Bob Browning to its board as a non-executive director.

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