Fincantieri Australia, a competitor for Navy's Future Frigates, has awarded Hofmann Engineering a contract to supply the Italian shipbuilder with two transverse tunnel thrusters for use in Fincantieri cruise ships.
This order follows a pilot order to Hofmann Engineering for a bow thruster last year, which was installed on a Landing Platform Dock for a Middle Eastern Navy. The follow-up order strengthens the company's international competitiveness with Fincantieri’s global suppliers for both naval and commercial vessels.
The new base order also includes an additional two options that could see Hofmann construct up to six thrusters.
“We’ve been very impressed with all the companies we have engaged and executed commercial agreements with over the past 12-months," Sean Costello, Director of Fincantieri Australia said. "It’s quite clear that Australian companies can compete both on quality and price, meaning that the local shipbuilding industry can participate in a highly competitive global market and succeed.”
Fincantieri and Hofmann have also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly cooperate in the potential development of Fincantieri’s global market for the manufacturing of marine systems and components.
The announcement comes a week after the release of the Defence Industrial Capability Plan. In remarks at the launch, Minister for Defence Industry Chris Pyne emphasised the importance of a meaningful Australian presence for industry wishing to participate.
"Having just an Australian Business Number is not enough if you are planning to be part of this. Being a serious contributor in Australian defence industry means having Australian-based industrial capability," Minister Pyne said.
“It means company and board presence, infrastructure, and a skills base that can complete value-added work here in Australia, employing Australian workers. It’s an important shift, and signals to Industry that establishing a shop-front and getting an ABN is no longer enough.”
Fincantieri's bid for the SEA 5000 Future Frigates program aims to ensure that Australian companies are fully capable of manufacturing all internal materials and equipment required in its vessels. To this end, the company has also commissioned two Adelaide firms to build blocks for cruise ships.
“We are committed to transferring technology to design, build ships, and the equipment within Australia, to create an export market," Dario Deste, chairman of Fincantieri Australia, said.
"By transferring the knowledge and technology directly to Australian workers, management, institutions and businesses, Australia will gain the capability and independent control to design and build new vessels and the advanced equipment within them.”