Family-owned engineering and services business, Birdon, has handed over the first of 374 Australian-designed Bridge Erection Boats to the US Army under a $325 million contract.
The export contract comes after Birdon recently completed the upgrade of the Australian Army’s own Bridge Erection Boats under a $16 million contract.
The boats are used by engineers to put together portable floating bridges for improvised crossings, so vehicles and troops can keep on the move.
The upgrade of Australia’s boats sustained over 20 Australian jobs in Port Macquarie while the boats for the US Army are built in Birdon’s facility in Denver, Colorado. The first 34 boats were handed over during a First Unit Equipped Ceremony at the US Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, congratulated Birdon for the successful delivery and upgrades and its growing export potential.
"It’s a vital capability for any Army, and it is fantastic that the US Army chose an Australian company to build them," Minister Pyne said.
"The delivery of the first of 374 of these boats to the US Army shows that Australia’s defence industry is creating innovative, globally competitive products. Through the Defence Export Strategy, we will see more companies like Birdon achieving success in the highly competitive international defence market."
Birdon received support from Efic to establish their new production facility in the US and support their growth.