The Essington Lewis Awards recognise excellence in industry and the Department of Defence collaboration, working together to overcome challenges or problems – ensuring that the ADF has or will have the materiel it needs, when it needs it, and at a cost that represents value for money.

Sadly, this year's awards could not go ahead in-person as initially planned due to pandemic-related restrictions and domestic border closures. However, ADM will announce the award winners on our website and via electronic direct messages on Monday October 18.

Ahead of the announcement, we will be running a series of articles on the finalists in each category. Today we are proud to cover the finalists for Major Acquisition – over $50 million: the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) Project from the Sea 3036-1 team and Austal; and the F-35 Regional Engine Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade Program JSF Office and TAE Aerospace.

The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) Project from the Sea 3036-1 team and Austal

Austal is delivering the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement project for the Department of Defence from 2016-2023. The project comprises the design, construction and sustainment of 21 Guardian class Patrol Boats for 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor Leste.

Austal developed a new steel hull vessel design for the Guardian class, meeting CASG’s specific requirements based on a proven patrol boat platform including the Bay, Armidale, Cape-class patrol boats previously developed by Austal for the Australian Border Force and RAN.

The new vessels are faster, more economical, with greater operational capability and improved seakeeping and onboard amenities. The Guardian class has a range of up to 3,000 nautical miles at 12 knots and can accommodate up to 23 mixed gender crew.

The delivery of the project on time and on budget (including 68.5 per cent Australian Industry Content) can be attributed to the vessel's design; a dedicated, world-class steel vessel manufacturing shipbuilding facility; a staged manufacturing approach, with up to five vessels constructed and completed at any given time; an Operational Leadership Program; an enhanced supply chain management process; tailored crew training packages and new vessel maintenance systems; and finally, complentary skill sets and a collaborative culture between CASG and Austal.

The F-35 Regional Engine Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade Program JSF Office and TAE Aerospace

In 2015, the US government assigned F135 engine Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade (MRO&U) responsibility to Australia and TAE was subsequently selected as one of four global Product Support Providers.

TAE Aerospace has since worked closely with CASG’s Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Branch, Pratt & Whitney and the US Government F-35 Joint Program Office over the past five years to establish the first Propulsion MRO&U capability outside of the US.

This effort includes training the technical workforce and delivering an engine test facility for the F135 engines of the RAAF and other F-35 Program participants in the Asia-Pacific region.

Major successes include modifying a former Masters’ Home Improvement depot near Ipswich in south-east Queensland to ensure the facility was ready for F135 maintenance after initial plans for a greenfield site or on-base depot were ruled out; and modifying the existing F404/F414 Engine Test Cell to the F135/F414 capability to achieve significant cost and schedule savings.

Congratulations to both finalists and we look forward to announcing a winner on October 18.

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