Australian construction contractor Civmec has begun construction of what will become Australia’s largest undercover shipbuilding and repair facility.
The project is being undertaken by Civmec subsidiary Forgacs Marine and Defence. The 18-storey high, ship and module construction, ship repair and maintenance facility in Henderson, Western Australia, is expected to be used in Australia’s A$89 billion ($67 billion) naval ship and submarine upgrading program. The program forms part of the Australian government’s projected A$195 billion ($147 billion) overall defense investment over the decade from now until 2025-26.
The facility will be able to house ship construction and on-going maintenance close to Fleet Base West – the home of Australia’s submarine force and half of its naval surface fleet. It will be the only facility with this capacity in Australia and will be large enough to house complete Australia’s air warfare destroyers or frigates as well as offshore patrol vessels for construction or maintenance.
The new facility will rival the best shipyards in the world, says Forgacs, and is part of the company’s goal to enhance Australia’s profile as a naval ship builder. With the commencement of operations at the facility, Forgacs will increase its Henderson workforce by an extra 1,000 people, including at least 100 apprentices.
Forgacs signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ASC Shipbuilding to jointly bid for the build of 12 offshore patrol vessels for the Royal Australian Navy in March this year. ASC Shipbuilding is Australia’s largest builder of steel-hulled warships, and is lead shipbuilder in the nation’s air warfare destroyer program.
ASC Shipbuilding and Forgacs were jointly chosen by two of the three shortlisted designers to work with them on the tender for the program, known as Project SEA 1180. B.V. Scheepswerf Damen Gorinchem of the Netherlands and Lürssen Werft GmbH & Co. KG of Germany are two of the shortlisted designers.
ASC Shipbuilding and Civmec/Forgacs have agreed to share intellectual property regarding shipbuilding and steel fabrication. If the tender is successful, ASC Shipbuilding and Forgacs will form a 50:50 joint venture to build the offshore patrol vessels, using the expertise of the experienced ship designers from Europe. Two of the vessels will be built at ASC Shipbuilding’s facilities in South Australia and the remainder at Civmec/Forgacs’ facilities in Western Australia.
ASC Shipbuilding and Forgacs will work with both companies on their bids for and also to explore opportunities to build other minor war vessels for the Royal Australian Navy and export markets.