OPV decision welcomed by ASC and Austal

Both shipbuilders have accepted the government’s decision to share the build of the SEA 1180 Offshore Patrol Vessels.

The government made the official announcement in Canberra, confirming it has chosen Lürssen, which was partnered with ASC and Civmec for its bid, as the designer - but had made  surprising decision to choose Austal as the main builder of the vessels.

WA's Austal, which was in a joint venture with German shipbuilder Fassmer, will build 10 of the 12 vessels in Henderson, while ASC will build the first two vessels in Adelaide.

Chief executive of ASC Shipbuilding Mark Lamarre said he looked forward to continued engagement with Lürssen at the earliest opportunity to prepare for the project.

“ASC Shipbuilding has worked closely with Lürssen over the past 12 months as part of its OPV bid and we look forward to continuing that close collaboration. Lürssen is renowned for its navy ships, its long history and its track record of exporting to countries around the world,” said Mr Lamarre.

“We congratulate Lürssen on this outcome, as well as our skilled and experienced workforce of more than 1,100 shipbuilders, and look forward to working together to prepare to deliver this important project for the Royal Australian Navy.”

Lürssen will then use the capabilities of Austal and Civmec to build the remaining OPVs in Western Australia.

Austal CEO David Singleton said that the OPV program would be a further and important addition to the $2.5 billion of work Austal has won in the past 18 months, including an unprecedented run of orders for its commercial high-speed ferry business.

"I congratulate Lürssen on being selected for the OPV and Austal looks forward to establishing a long and productive future working together," Singleton said.

"This important program will not only deliver new capability for the Navy but will continue to build the industrial base in Australia in line with the government’s stated intent."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the project will cut steel at the end of 2018 and there will be 400 new jobs created to work on the OPVs in Adelaide, and then 400 jobs in Henderson when the project transfers there.

"There will be another 600 jobs that are indirect as a consequence of the Offshore Patrol Vessels," the PM said. "That is 1,000 jobs across Adelaide and then 1,000 jobs across Henderson."

Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, Chief of the Defence Force, said the decision will allow the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to improve its patrolling abilities.

"The decision and the announcement represents a point where we can take a significant leap forward with our Offshore Patrol Vessels in being able to patrol our waters to the North," he said.

"The PV80 Lürssen vessel is one of the most capable OPV’s in the world today and it will meet all of the needs that we have. It will improve our contribution to maritime patrol and response, our constabulary mission around Australia and across the vast maritime spaces that we are accountable for in this region." 

OPV decision welcomed by ASC and Austal
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