A Queensland SME has entered into a joint venture with one of Europe’s leading marine technology companies as part of a tender for Australia’s $3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessels contract.
Brisbane-based specialised communications system contractor Australian Maritime Systems Group (AMSG) is partnering with Dutch firm Alewijnse Marine to support the Damen Group bid to build 12 OPVs for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
Under the joint venture, Alewijnse Marine and AMS Defence would collaborate on the design and integration of the OPVs’ electrical systems.
Knowledge transfer between the companies would begin with vessel one and be completed during construction of vessel five.
While the vessels will be constructed in Adelaide and Perth AMSG, which is supporting the RAN's ANZAC class frigate navigation radars, is anticipating its involvement will generate highly-skilled and long-term engineering jobs for the Queensland-based company.
AMSG managing director John Sugarman was highly complimentary of OPV contender Damen and said AMSG has been impressed by the extent of Damen’s engagement with Australian industry, as well as its long-established partners,
"Damen’s commitment to collaboration and knowledge-sharing with Australian firms like ours is truly outstanding," said Sugarman.
"But we haven’t just been impressed by Damen. It has many partners in the Netherlands with whom it has forged strong relationships over many decades, such as Alewijnse.
"Damen has built more than 250 ships with Alewijnse and that track record proves teamwork and knowledge-sharing are central to its culture.
"The formation of our joint venture with Alewijnse demonstrates the close and co-operative relationships the Damen Group and its trusted partners will build Down Under."
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Alewijnse has pledged to maximise Australian employment opportunities and the transfer of technology and intellectual property.
The company is also committed to establishing an Australian training centre and to co-operating with Australian universities and research institutes.
Damen Asia-Pacific director Roland Briene said the company spoke with more than 800 business contacts at local industry briefings in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide earlier this year and that relationships with about 50 Australian firms were further developed during follow-up visits to Perth, Adelaide and Sydney earlier this month.
"The joint venture between AMSG and Alewijnse is a prime example of the relationships we want to grow in Australia," said Briene.
"We are committed to creating long-term naval and commercial ship-building capacity here.
"Fostering enduring relationships and knowledge transfers – not just procuring local components – are key to achieving that long-term goal.
'We’re also keen to work with leading companies across the whole of Australia – not just those based in South Australia and Western Australia."
Damen is one of the three contenders vying for the $3 billion OPV contract. It has partnered with ASC Shipbuilding and Forgacs Marine and Defence for the bid.
Lürssen and Fassmer are also tendering, with Lürssen also teaming up with ASC Shipbuilding and Forgacs Marine and Defence, and Fassmer partnering with Austal.