One of the three tenderers for the $3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) contract has touted its history as a subcontractor and its strong family heritage as its trump card.
Dirk Malgowski, managing director (defence) of German company Lürssen, is confident the shipbuilding company's biggest advantage to its OPV bid is its experience with subcontracting, which it says is in the company's 'genetics'.
"We are a subcontracting company. I think this is in our DNA. We expect our Australian shipbuilding partners to do it the same way. So this offers superior opportunities for the Australian supply chain," Malgowski said.
"We already have the go to design, virtually, only having to be amended slightly for the length of the Royal Australian Navy.
"This is, I think, a big advantage for us as it reduces the risk for scheduled slippage. We know that for the government, it is of the essence that steel will be cut in 2018, and we would be fully ensuring this with our local partners."
The German company has made it no secret that it prides itself on its 140-year history, which Malgowski said would be drawn on to support the $3 billion project.
"And, certainly, we are a well capitalised family-based business with a strong balance sheet," he said.
"The family will be backing this program with all their efforts in Germany, and they would not do it if they would see any risk arriving out of this program. And, you can imagine, that being able to pay one's dues when they fall due, is of the essence as it would be to the supplier base, and communicating this while we speak."
Two German companies, Lürssen and Fassmer, and Dutch company Damen are all tendering for the $3 billion OPV project.
Lürssen and Damen have both teamed with SA-based ASC Shipbuilding and WA-based Forgacs (a subsidiary of Civmec) as part of their bids for the project. Fassmer has entered into a 50-50 joint venture partnership with Austal.