NSW’s Steber International has commenced work on the first of the five new vessels to support the Royal Australian Navy’s Deployable Mine Countermeasure (MCM) project.
Fibreglass boat manufacturer Steber was awarded a contract worth more than $6 million by Thales Australia to deliver the five 38-foot vessels to support the RAN.
Minister for Defence Marise Payne, and member for Lyne and Assistant Minister for Children and Families Dr David Gillespie, visited the Taree boatbuilder last week to commend Steber International on its contribution to the navy’s Deployable MCM project.
"Steber vessels will be configured as unmanned surface vessels and mine countermeasure support boats that deploy systems to protect our navy assets," Minister Payne said.
"As a result of this contract, Steber is looking to create 10 new jobs, including specialist staff and apprentices."
The vessels will have a top speed of 25 knots, a payload in excess of three tonnes and feature a new naval paint scheme.
The project is scheduled for staged delivery across 2018-19.
Steber general manager Alan Steber said the project will not only support more jobs at the company, but will also open up opportunities to join the Thales global supply chain.
"The project will provide a variety of employment, trades and supply chain opportunities over the two-year build period," Steber said.
"The vessels will be built to strict specifications, including Australian Marine Safety Authority requirements, involving surveyors and naval architects. In recent times we have ramped up our presence in the defence capability space with development of the Bluebottle range of unmanned surface vessels, and now this contract is a win-win for the Commonwealth of Australia and Steber International."
Steber is also a key partner with NSW's Ocius Technology in the innovative Bluebottle Program. The Bluebottle unmanned surface vessel runs on solar, wind and wave energy and can remain at sea for months at a time, offering the potential for future cutting-edge capability enhancements.