David Singleton says the design for the patrol vessels will be undertaken in Australia under the Austal-Fassmer venture. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Austal to Adelaide in naval work pursuit

Friday, 5 May, 2017 - 10:21

Henderson-based shipbuilder Austal will open an Adelaide office for shipbuilding design and project management as it seeks to win a $3 billion federal government contract to build 12 new offshore patrol vessels.

Work on those vessels is expected to begin in Adelaide next year, and transfer across to Western Australia by the end of the decade.

Austal hopes the new office will also put the company on the radar for work on the Future Frigate project of nine vessels to be built in Adelaide from 2020.

The company’s new office will be established next month.

There has been some competitive tension in the race to win the contracts.

Contractor Civmec, also based in Henderson, is pursuing a diversification move into naval construction, and last month began building an $80 million, 18-storey shipbuilding facility.

Both Austal and Civmec have committed to take on a significant number of apprentices, and both have secured tie-ups with international contractors for the bid.

Austal is in a joint venture partnership with a German designing business, Fassmer, while Civmec announced in March that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the government-owned Australian Submarine Corporation.

German shipbuilder Luerssen announced earlier this week it would set up shop in Henderson as part of the ASC/Civmec consortium.

Austal chief executive David Singleton said that under the Austal-Fassmer venture, the design for the patrol vessels would be undertaken in Australia, something he warned may not take place under other bid consortiums.

“As a key stakeholder in the delivery of the Australian government’s Continuous Naval Shipbuilding Program, which includes the 19 vessel Pacific Patrol Boat replacement project we’ve just cut steel on, it is absolutely critical that we establish a strong presence in both Australian shipbuilding hubs,” Mr Singleton said.

“We’re committed to employing, training and developing the very best talent in shipbuilding design, engineering and manufacturing in Australia for this national endeavour.”