Western Australia's Austal, which has partnered with Germany's Fassmer for the $3 billion SEA 1180 project, has announced it has submitted a pre-qualification to bid for the design and build of two OPVs for Malta, with the work set to be done in Adelaide or Henderson, WA.
Space at the Henderson shipyard is limited, and with the opening of Austal's new design office in Adelaide, South Australia could be set for another shipbuilding win.
Defence Connect spoke with representatives from Austal who said it is in the process of building up the efficiency of its Australian shipyard so that, ultimately, the company will be able to build boats at the same price, or cheaper, than in its Philippine shipyard.
Austal has previously made patrol vessels for Malta, having built four 21-metre patrol vessels for the Armed Forces of Malta in 2009.
Fassmer's OPV 80 is already operating in Chile and Colombia, along with a variant design that was recently selected by the German Federal Coast Guard.
Austal chief executive David Singleton said the decision to partner with Fassmer is already proving successful now that the two are looking at export opportunities.
"It’s very exciting that we have already started pursuing export opportunities with the AustalFassmer OPV 80 vessel," Singleton said.
"The AustalFassmer joint venture was established to not only compete for the Australian OPV contract but to pursue export opportunities together."
AustalFassmer is competing against Damen and Lürssen, both of which have partnered with ASC and Civmec/Forgacs for the build of Australia's 12 OPVs.
Two of the 12 vessels will be built in Adelaide, with the remainder to be constructed in Henderson.
The government is expected to announce its decision on the SEA 1180 project by November this year.