A subsidiary of one of the foreign tenderers for the SEA 5000 project has secured an order for cruise vessels, with some work set be undertaken in Australia.
Under Fincantieri's mobilisation initiatives for its Future Frigates Project bid, its subsidiary Vard will have blocks for expedition cruise vessels for Coral Sea Expeditions constructed in Australia.
Fincantieri Australia chairman Dario Deste said this opportunity will help both the Australian defence industry and the oil and gas industry.
“Building blocks of the Coral Sea Expeditions cruise ship here in Australia shows how Fincantieri’s size and strength can join new opportunities in the market and the shipbuilding industry together," Deste said.
“Vard offers exciting opportunities for joint venture partners in Australia’s offshore oil and gas industry, and these opportunities flow directly from the engineering know-how Fincantieri contributes to Australia’s naval industry.
“These initiatives demonstrate Fincantieri’s vision for Australia, where Australian citizens and Australian companies work together as an industry to design and build advanced naval vessels on a sustainable, global and sovereign basis."
These cruise vessels blocks for Vard are separate to the cruise ship blocks that Fincantieri will construct in Australia next year, regardless of the result of the SEA 5000 project.
Fincantieri has also placed pilot orders with Australian companies Hoffman Engineering, BlueScope Steel and Calibre.
"Pilot orders provide the real work necessary to gain the return on experience needed for complex industrial co-operation," Deste said.
Hoffmann Engineering will manufacture a bow thruster for a Middle Eastern navy's Landing Platform Dock in Australia, and will maximise the use of Australian industry in the manufacture of components and sourcing of raw materials for the thruster.
"This work not only provides an advanced ship equipment item to an export customer, but provides valuable return on experience for Fincantieri to plan further technology transfer into the Australian manufacturing industry," said Deste.
Additionally, Fincantieri and Hoffman Engineering have entered a memorandum of understanding to co-operate in the development of Fincantieri’s $250 million global market (over five years) for the manufacture of marine systems and components.
"Whenever a new supplier joins Fincantieri, it’s always about joining a new market as well as participating in a one-off project," the chairman said.
The pilot program with BlueScope Steel will see the company supply steel for use in cruise ships and future test blocks of cruise ships constructed in Australia, while Calibre has been selected for the preliminary design of an advanced manufacturing facility in Adelaide for the integration of mechanical equipment to the Future Frigates, as well as ships built in Fincantieri’s 20 shipyards globally and other ships in Australia’s fleet.
Fincantieri have put forward its FREMM Frigate design and is competing against the UK's BAE Systems and Spain's Navantia.
The three primes are competing for the design, build and sustainment of the nine new anti-submarine warfare frigates to replace Australia's Anzac frigate fleet.
A decision on the successful tenderer is expected by April next year.