South Australian Defence industry leaders and the South Australian Government have visited shipyards in Singapore to gain a greater understanding of the companies’ capabilities to build Australia’s Pacific Patrol Boat project.
Global engineering and construction company Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), and South East Asia’s premier commercial and naval shipbuilder Singapore Technologies Marine (ST Marine) have engaged Adelaide Ship Construction International (ASCI) in their to bid for the project.
Key industry leaders, Defence SA Chief Executive, Andy Keough and Defence Teaming Centre, Chris Burns support the South Australian bid by (ASCI) of the $1.4 billion project bringing 120 new jobs to South Australia, and up to 400 indirect jobs within the supply chain.
“The fact international industry giants have selected ASCI to build these boats is a testament to their confidence and trust that ASCI and the State’s defence industry can deliver a shipbuilding project that is vitally important to stability in Australia’s Pacific neighbourhood,” said Mr Burns.
The project would also result in direct expenditure in South Australia of more than $300 million during the six-year acquisition phase, providing significant economic benefits to the state and local companies.
Under the tender, which closed in June this year, the Commonwealth requires up to 21 steel-hull replacement vessels for Australia’s Pacific neighbours, budgeted at $600 million, in addition to through-life sustainment and personnel costs estimated at $8 million per year over 30-year life of the project.
“The project is a strategic bridge to retain vital shipbuilding skills in the state as the Air Warfare Destroyer project nears completion and before the replacement corvette, frigate and submarine projects begin,” said Mr Burns.
“This is all part of retaining and building a sustainable industry based on a long-term national shipbuilding strategy that incorporates the continuous construction philosophy, rather than the current ad-hoc stop-start, project by project approach.”
In the last two decades ASCI has built more than 60 commercial steel-hulled vessels of a similar size and complexity to those now required under this pacific patrol boat replacement program. The company has also undertaken fabrication work on the Air Warfare Destroyer project.
ST-Marine advised Mr Keough and Mr Burns that the company is committed to transferring its innovative shipbuilding methods and technologies, which are recognised as international best practice, to ASCI.
“The transfer of technologies will have long-lasting economic benefits for shipbuilding in South Australia, enabling ASCI to extend its products and services range to other industries, and strengthen the continuity of industrial expertise between major maritime programs,” said Mr Burns.
The Commonwealth is expected to pick the winning tender early next year, proposing the first boat be launched in 2018, coinciding with the end-of-life of the current fleet.
The Adelaide-based consortium has proposed an early start to use an existing design and build in ASCI, a proven boat-builder.