• Italian FREMM class ASW frigate Carabiniere will visit Adelaide between 5-10 February. Credit: Marina Militare
    Italian FREMM class ASW frigate Carabiniere will visit Adelaide between 5-10 February. Credit: Marina Militare

Patrick Durrant | Sydney

Naval ship designers and builders down selected for Australia's major naval shipbuilding programs are showing off their wares and engaging with industry in Adelaide in coming weeks.

Three naval ship designers will hold engagement forums with SA’s defence industry ahead of commencement of the first program, Offshore Patrol Vessels (Sea 1180) in 2018.

OPV contender Damen from the Netherlands is visiting Adelaide until February 1, and the Italian Navy's FREMM ASW frigate Carabiniére, built by Sea 5000 Future Frigate contender Fincantieri, will also arrive on February 5, having conducted naval exercises with the Royal Australian Navy en route from its first stop in Fremantle, WA. In mid-March Adelaide will also host Spanish shipbuilder and fellow Sea 5000 contender, Navantia, which will also conduct briefings in other state capitals.

SA Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith said the next eight weeks represent a high level of activity in the lead up to ship construction due to commence at Techport Australia from next year.

The Federal Government has promised construction of the first $3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessels will start at Techport in 2018. The $35 billion Future Frigate program is due to commence in Adelaide in 2020.

Damen is one of three ship designers selected by the Commonwealth in the first pass approval for the Offshore Patrol Vessel program, along with Fassmer of Germany and Lürssen of Germany.

Damen has met with the Minister and local defence industry representatives ahead of its industry engagement forum tomorrow. The shipbuilder will outline its needs and expectations to firms wanting to bid for work.

Hamilton-Smith welcomed the builders' efforts at engagement with local industry and re-iterated the State's pedigree in delivering complex defence programs such as the Collins class submarine.  

“The South Australian government is a huge supporter of our local industry and we are committed to maximising our state’s involvement in defence industry programs,” he said. “Winning the projects is one thing, if we want to truly see the benefits for our economy we need as many local companies as possible involved in the supply chain.”

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