A multimillion-dollar defence contract has been awarded to a Hobart-based boatbuilding company.
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Australian boat builder PFG has secured a $6 million award from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), which has tasked the company with designing and developing three 12.5-metre, high-speed littoral manoeuvre craft (LMC) for the Royal New Zealand Navy.
The Sentinel Tactical Watercraft, to be constructed with High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), are expected to enhance the Navy’s capability to detect and respond to underwater threats, support expeditionary reconnaissance and facilitate the troop and materiel transportation.
“We have been building boats with HDPE for over 20 years, mainly for use in the aquaculture industry,” PFG CEO Rob Inches said
“However, with our Sentinel Tactical Watercraft branded boats we have had success more recently in the police and emergency services sectors.”
Inches described the vessels as “virtually indestructible”, claiming they cannot corrode or suffer from electrolysis and do not require painting.
The LMCs, which will be built in Tasmania, are billed as 100 per cent recyclable, and are expected to be constructed using 100 per cent renewable energy.
PFG will collaborate with New Zealand-based water propulsion company Hamilton Jet and equipment supplier and sustainment partner General Marine Services of Auckland.
Partner naval architects One2Three of Sydney will also support the project, helping to improve strength, reliability, manoeuvrability and crew safety.
“We are also proud that these craft are being built in a region such as Tasmania, a state with a boat building heritage stretching back over 200 years,” Inches added.
“… We are proud of our Sentinel craft and proud of the team we have assembled who will deliver them.
“We are also delighted to work with the RNZN to develop a boat that will set a new bench mark in meeting the needs of a modern defence force.”