Austal Australia has engaged in discussion with local suppliers for Austal and German ship-design firm Fassmer's joint bid for the Australian Navy's $3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessel program.
The Australian firm engaged in discussion in a forum at Bendigo, Victoria, in Australia, the company announced Wednesday.
"With the government's national shipbuilding plan, there is $89 billion being invested to deliver the next generation of the Australian Navy's fleet," Davyd Thomas, Austal Australia Defense vice-president, said.
"As the country's largest defense exporter, we look forward to working with Bendigo companies as we continue to grow our operations in Australia and overseas." Thomas added.
The Offshore Patrol Vessel program calls for a fleet of 12, with construction beginning in Australia in 2018 and first delivery by 2021. The costs over the cycle of the program are expected to total $3 billion.
The OPV is slated to replace the existing Armidale-class patrol boats in use by the Navy. Fast and manuevarable, OPVs are suitable for patrolling coastal waters while maintaing seakeaping ability in rough seas and weather.
Fassmer's 80m OPV design has a landing deck and hangar for helicopters, has a top speed of 35 miles per hour, and carries three light interception boats for coastal interdiction. It is armed with a 76mm gun and several heavy machine guns and can carry up to a hundred passengers. The vessel also carries radar and surveillance systems.
The Australian Navy has a projected shipbuilding program totalling $89 billion over the next decade based on forward estimates.
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