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International ship designers converge on Adelaide

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Adelaide is set to be a hot-spot for international shipbuilding companies in coming weeks with three ship designers visiting Techport Australia and holding engagement forums with South Australia’s defence industry ahead of 2018’s jobs windfall.

Offshore Patrol Vessel contender Damen from the Netherlands is visiting Adelaide until February 1, next week Future Frigate contender Fincantieri will be in town and in mid-March, Adelaide will host Spanish shipbuilder and fellow frigate contender, Navantia.

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 $3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessels starts at Techport in 2018; it will lead to 400-plus direct and 400 indirect jobs. The $35 billion Future Frigate program is due to commence in Adelaide in 2020. It will lead to approximately 2000 direct jobs.

Damen is one of three ship designers selected by the Australian Government in the first pass approval for the Offshore Patrol Vessel program, along with Fassmer of Germany and Lurssen of Germany. Damen has met with the Minister and local defence industry representatives ahead of its industry engagement forum on Wednesday 1 February. The shipbuilder will outline its needs and expectations to firms wanting to bid for work.

Italian firm Fincantieri and Navantia have been shortlisted to refine their designs for the Future Frigate program through a competitive evaluation process, along with British company BAE Systems. Fincantieri plans to visit Adelaide with its FREMM Frigate design from 5-10 February, with an industry engagement forum planned for 9 February, while Navantia is planning an industry engagement forum on 20 March.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith

South Australia is the national centre of naval shipbuilding and we welcome these international companies to Adelaide to engage with our world-class defence industry. South Australia’s defence industry is highly capable, having produced some of the most complex defence programs in Australia’s history. 

With the Offshore Patrol Vessel program due to commence in 2018, and Future Frigates in 2020 – now is a crucial time for our industry to showcase their capabilities. 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. 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.