Tasmanian company PFG has cracked open the naval seaboat market securing a contract with The Royal New Zealand Navy for advanced 12.5 metre 'Sentinel' vessels.
With ‘The Sentinel’ leading the way, PFG has just inked their first major international defence contract, securing the New Zealand tender to deliver multi-mission configurable Littoral Manoeuvre Craft (LMC). These sophisticated ‘next generation’ vessels will increase that nation’s capabilities in expeditionary reconnaissance, mine counter measures and short-range personnel and equipment transport.
PFG now join Taylor Bros Marine, Liferaft Systems Australia and Pivot Maritime International as highly specialist Tasmanian companies which have worked with the RNZN in recent years.
PFG is a leading multi-sector, multi-platform technology-focussed manufacturing business with specialist skills and experience in the maritime industry. Various configurations of the operationally focussed and mission adaptable ‘Sentinel’ are already providing highly effective service to agencies such as Queensland Police, Tasmania Police and the Western Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
First unveiled in Sydney at the Pacific International Maritime Exposition in 2019, ‘The Sentinel’ is the culmination of 25 years of dedication by PFG to the maritime security and aquaculture sectors.
‘The Sentinel’ range offers a step change in areas of performance, whole-of life-cost, reliability, and operational availability. PFG’s product excellence has been formally recognised on multiple occasions over many years with more recent awards being ‘Ausmarines’ Best Patrol Boat in 2019 and Best RHIB Patrol Boat in 2020.
Ensuring a capability to effectively deliver current and future Defence requirements, PFG’s Defence Capability Advisory (DCA) Committee holds more than a century of combined operational experience. This very active committee includes two recently retired RAN Rear Admirals, and a mine warfare and clearance diving specialist senior officer, that each bring significant active service; operational command experience; and, in depth warfare capability knowledge across the defence and maritime security domains.
‘The Sentinel’ was designed by Australian naval architects ‘One2three’ and with over 100 vessels currently in operational service, they are available in mission configurations of up to 15 metres in length.
The high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for vessel manufacture is a key capability that readily sets ‘The Sentinel’ apart from all watercraft of this size made from other materials. It has extraordinary strength, positive buoyancy; inherent stability; low radar and magnetic signature; non-corrosiveness; bio fouling resistance; ease of in-situ repair; and shock absorbing characteristics. It is these virtues that ‘The Sentinel’ brings to a new generation of evolved fast military vessels, search and rescue vessels and support craft.
PFG CEO Robert Inches said PFG had designed and manufactured vessels that continue to operate 20 years after entering service.
“No other Australian company has the lineage of demonstrated proven performance in some of the harshest conditions,” Mr Inches said. “Like our own forces, the New Zealanders are a seagoing nation reliant on having the best and safest equipment for the worst conditions. We can and do supply that solution.
The recent PFG contract signing signals the beginning of another exciting relationship between the New Zealand Defence Force and the Tasmanian Defence Industry. PFG’s Sentinel watercraft will enhance and deliver further capabilities to the RNZN’s Dive/Hydro vessel, the HMNZS Manawanui.”
Tasmania’s Defence Advocate and former RAN Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral (Rtd) Steve Gilmore, said Tasmania’s maritime manufacturing capability provides superior, tailored solutions.
“The conventional Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat with an alloy hull is now being superseded by proven products like ‘The Sentinel’ and I’m glad our Kiwi shipmate’s will be safer and better equipped with ‘The Sentinel’ in their service” Rear Admiral (Rtd) Steve Gilmore said.
Critical to maritime operations is training, and the Royal New Zealand Navy has recognised the power of portable simulation systems provided by Pivot Maritime International is second to none.
Established in 1996, Pivot is a maritime simulation, training and consultancy company with its head office in Legana, Tasmania and technical centre in Riddells Creek, Victoria. The company is a pioneer in cost effective portable marine simulation systems and in-situ maritime training. Pivot have recently provided portable systems to the RNZN also for use on the Dive and Hydro Support vessel HMNZS Manawanui. They also have portable systems in service with eight other international navies and now in RAN vessels HMA Ships Canberra, Choules and Sirius.
Taylor Bros Marine are another Tasmanian company that have worked with the RNZN, having undertaken prefabrication and installation of entire interior panelling systems, and furniture for two Project Protector Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) – HMNZ Ships Otago and Wellington.
“Not only are the New Zealanders near neighbours but they, like our own RAN, require the best kit for their seafarers and we have found the RNZN to be highly professional and a pleasure to deal with,” Commercial Director, Mr Phil Taylor said.
Tasmanian firm Liferaft Systems Australia has also had success in NZ having provided its unique Marine Evacuation Systems for installation in HMNZS Canterbury, another multi-role vessel of the RNZN.
More information on Tasmania’s defence industry is available through the Defence Tasmania Industry Directory at: https://www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au/business/sectors/defence