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Thales, Austal sign shipbuilding MOU

The primes have agreed to collaborate alongside the Tropical Reef Shipyard to support the Royal Australian Navy’s shipbuilding and sustainment program.

The primes have agreed to collaborate alongside the Tropical Reef Shipyard to support the Royal Australian Navy’s shipbuilding and sustainment program.

Thales Australia, Austal and Tropical Reef Shipyard have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Cairns, agreeing to work collaboratively in support of the Commonwealth government’s National Naval Shipbuilding and Sustainment Enterprise. 


The MOU aims to prioritises the development of local professional, technical and trade skills in far north Queensland, focusing on the capability assurance of the Royal Australian Navy’s assets through the delivery of project management, and ship repair and defect rectification services.

Thales Australia vice president, above water systems, Max Kufner, said the MOU would help ensure Navy and the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) can achieve and sustain mission capability. 

“As Navy transforms its sustainment model, this MOU helps cement the close collaborative relationships that are key to ensuring we help deliver an integrated regional sustainment environment,” he said.

“I am delighted to be working closely with Austal and Tropical Reef Shipyard and many other local businesses to ensure Navy gets the best support and sustainment outcomes, whilst maximising opportunities for local companies. 

“Local Cairns businesses have played an essential role in delivering the sustainment of the Armidale Class patrol boats for the Royal Australian Navy.


Kufner added, “These activities have seen more than $10 million invested in the local economy in 2020 as a direct result of Thales’s policy of maximising the work flowing to local small and medium-sized businesses.”

Federal member for Leichardt Warren Entsch welcomed the collaboration agreement.  

“This MoU signing is a great example of how capable our local defence industry is building upon this region being a regional maintenance and sustainment hub,” he said.

[Related: Flinders Uni farewells digital shipbuilding graduates]

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.

Thales, Austal sign shipbuilding MOU
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