The Australian government has signed a heads of agreement with Austal to create a strategic shipbuilder agreement, which if ultimately forged would install the company as the government’s strategic shipbuilder in Henderson, West Australia.
According to Austal’s announcement of the preliminary agreement, the HoA defines the SSA’s key principles and sets the discussion points and due diligence activities for establishing the final agreement at mutually acceptable terms. The HoA provides a pilot program for the company to build at the Henderson shipyard the Birdon-designed medium capability landing craft for the Australian Army, Austal added.
Once finalized, the SSA will direct the Austal-Birdon team to build 18 new landing craft to replace the Army’s aging Landing Craft Mechanised Mk 8 vessels, Naval News reported.
In addition, Austal said it is currently building for the Royal Australian Navy two Evolved Cape Class Patrol Boats worth about $104 million, as well as Guardian-Class Patrol Boats for donation to Pacific Island countries.
Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said the HoA is a platform for the company’s future contracts in Western Australia. He also noted Austal’s “proud record of delivering fit-for-purpose naval vessels” to Canberra for which it delivered 24 vessels during the past five years.