The first contract, worth US$191 million, is for the upgrading of the US Coast Guard's (USCG) fleet of 47-foot Motor Lifeboat (MLB) vessels, which are reaching the end of their 25-year service life.
Birdon America has been appointed to deliver the redesign and upgrade of its fleet of 107 MLBs under the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), which aims to extend the vessel’s service life for another 20 years, as well as enhancing key aspects of the MLB’s operational capability and performance.
“The contract award is testament to Birdon’s world-class maritime and military capability and our ability to adapt to complex customer requirements,” Birdon CEO Jamie Bruce said.
“The Coast Guard is an important part of the US national security strategy, responsible for patrolling vast areas of the country’s coastline. The next generation of USCG vessels have very specific operational requirements, which have to be incorporated into the SLEP. By demonstrating beyond doubt that we could deliver on these requirements, Birdon presented as a compelling and low-risk option in the Coast Guard’s assessment of tenders.”
The second contract is worth up to US$199 million and is a five-year extension to Birdon’s existing contract to supply Bridge Erection Boats (BEBs) to the US Army.
Under the arrangement, Birdon America will supply a further 247 BEBs (for a total of 435 BEBs) to field locations in the US, Germany, Korea, Kuwait and Puerto Rico.
Birdon America confirmed that they will expand their production facilities by more than 40 per cent and staffing by an estimated 25 per cent to accommodate the increased demand.
“It’s a strong endorsement of our capacity to deliver to schedule and on budget that the US Army has seen fit to extend our contract for a further five years. The extension builds in additional scope for Birdon and places us in a strong position to secure other global BEB opportunities and future US Department of Defence work,” Bruce said.
When combined with Australian contracts secured in the past three months, the US deals have seen Birdon’s confirmed business pipeline surge over $700 million and “position it as a rapidly emerging force in Australia’s maritime and engineering contracting sectors”, according to a release from the company.
“Birdon moves from strength to strength in the US, which is a credit to our team on the ground,” Bruce said.
“We’re proud that these significant maritime contracts, won in one of the world’s most competitive defence procurement markets, will be overseen from our headquarters in Port Macquarie. Birdon is now a global business with enduring roots in the Hastings region. As we have grown, we’ve had to bolster our staffing and capability in Port Macquarie and that’s good for the local economy.”