• H&H's Ultra5 machine. (H&H)
    H&H's Ultra5 machine. (H&H)

Berendsen Fluid Power and H & H Machine Tools have been selected as the first Australian partners for equipment design contracts that will support the build of the Attack Class submarine.

“The awarding of these contracts supports the government’s objectives of providing sovereign support for the design, build, operations and sustainment of the fleet as well as maximising the involvement of Australian industry,” Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said.

Under the deal, Seven Hills-based Berendsen Fluid Power and Melbourne’s H & H Machine Tools will partner with Pinette Emidecau Industries and Starrag Group Holding AG to become the design authority and manage the local manufacture of medium capacity presses and a large-capacity milling machine.

“The value of work for local companies is estimated at $20 million, supporting more Aussie jobs and opportunities for small business,” Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said.

The announcement comes amidst a debate over Australian Industry Capability (AIC) and whether Naval Group is preferencing French suppliers over Australian companies for the Attack class build.

In Darwin last week, Minister Price responded to a journalist's question on the topic.

“In recent weeks, defence suppliers have accused Naval Group… of selecting other French companies for lucrative contracts,” the journalist said. “Are Aussie contractors missing out?”

“No, that is not my experience at all, and in fact, every day I'm coming across new defence industry players that are coming into our supply chain, not just with respect to shipbuilding but with respect to all the different Land 400 projects as well,” Minister Price responded.

Peak industry body AIDN has recently called for an urgent review of the AIC program.

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