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Queensland firms tapped to build Army vessels

Army vessels

Two north Queensland-based firms have been tasked with building seven watercraft for the Australian Army.

Two north Queensland-based firms have been tasked with building seven watercraft for the Australian Army.

Tropical Reef Shipyards and BME NQ have been selected to manufacture seven watercraft for the Australian Army, which have been designed by Australian naval architect firm Chris Tucker Marine Design.

The 7.5-metre-long vessels, which will be built in Cairns, are expected to cost Defence approximately $4.05 million.

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In addition to manufacturing the vessels, Tropical Reef Shipyards and BME NQ have been tasked with providing spares and trailers, while also delivering operator and maintainer training.

Acting Minister for Defence Marise Payne said the watercraft, set to replace Army’s water safety and inshore hydrographic vessels, would enhance amphibious capability.

“The vessels will provide dedicated and agile watercraft for survey, safety, planning, and command and control,” Minister Payne said.

“These important watercraft will enable the Army to safely conduct a range of amphibious training activities and operations, which is a critical capability for the ADF.

Minister Payne said the announcement also forms part of the government’s commitment to bolstering AIC.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the local delivery of the Australian-designed vessels supports the Commonwealth’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan.

“Tropical Reef Shipyard is a key defence industry partner and is used extensively by the Royal Australian Navy for maintenance and modification services on our Leeuwin Class hydrographic ships and Paluma Class survey motor boats,” Minister Price said.

“Australian businesses will grow our marine manufacturing and maintenance capacity, showing once again that we are backing local businesses and supporting local jobs.”

Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, also welcomed the new project, noting the local community’s contribution to Defence.

“I’m pleased that Cairns will play a crucial role in strengthening Army’s amphibious capability,” Entsch said.

“The award of this contract provides an excellent growth opportunity for these Cairns-based businesses. BME NQ currently employ 17 staff and will now bring on an additional six employees, including an apprentice, to work on the watercraft.

“This announcement is another positive step towards building on Cairns’ manufacturing, defence and marine maintenance capabilities.”

[Related: Defence expands Saab’s CMS contract]

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