Defence Connect has been given an insider’s perspective to the Fincantieri SEA 5000 Future Frigates bid, with Fincantieri Australia director Sean Costello taking us through its offering to the Royal Australian Navy and Australian industry.
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Costello, the former CEO for Naval Group Australia, said Fincantieri's industry program presented to the Australian government has three sub-programs designed to establish and sustain a sovereign shipbuilding industry.
"There's work that goes over and above of just building the ship, and that's what we call our industry program," Costello explained.
The first two programs are centred on ship design capabilities and building up a skilled workforce, which Fincantieri is looking to do through the upcoming Naval Shipbuilding College.
"Within the industry program, we've decomposed the government's strategic objective into three sub-programs, a program to build the design capability, a program to institutionalise the shipbuilding workforce skills, and that's in partnership with the Naval Shipbuilding College, where we create an institution that everyone can use to access shipbuilding skills built from Fincantieri's know-how, at least in part," Costello said.
The third sub-program is the Italian shipbuilders technology transfer program that is designed to create an autonomous shipbuilding industry, as Fincantieri did in Wisconsin following the collapse of the state's automotive industry, as well as an industry that can be sustained through exports.
"The third string there, our supply chain technology transfer program," Costello said.
"If you have design capability, the concept design, the functional design, the detail design, and the ability to integrate, and if you have that in an open and collaborative frame with your skills and with your supply chain, you have an industry, one that can then design and build new vessels, modify vessels, or export whole ships or components thereof, particularly the technical services and components thereof."
Costello also revealed the ship designer is offering a mechanical integration facility, modelled on what the company has in its Riva Trigosa shipyard in Italy, as part of achieving technology transfer and technology development for the SEA 5000 project. The facility would house CAD CAM machines, layers, equipment and information technology.
Fincantieri already has test orders in place in Australia and is building cruise ship blocks in Adelaide that will go to Fincantieri's other shipyards across the globe.
The Italian shipbuilder has offered its FREMM Frigate for the project, while competitor BAE Systems has offered its Type 26 Global Combat Ship and Navantia has offered its F-500.