Austal secures $1.5m US Navy maintenance contract

Austal has been awarded a $1.5 million contract to provide structural maintenance support for Sea Fighter (FSF-1), a US Navy Research Vessel.

The FSF-1 is a 79.9-metre high-speed aluminium catamaran, designed to operate at speeds of 50 knots and above.

The vessel is operated by Great Eastern Group for the Office of Naval Research, and is used for advanced technology demonstrations.

“This contract is further recognition from the defence community that our core skills add value in the in-service support phase,” said Austal CEO, Andrew Bellamy.

“It shows we can successfully grow our international support business, and leverage our defence contracting credentials beyond new ship construction, in line with our strategy.”

Austal is an Australian aluminium shipbuilder operating manufacturing facilities in Western Australia, the US and Singapore.

The company won the Manufacturers’ Monthly Endeavour Awards Industrial Product of the Year gong in 2010 for its 102-metre trimaran, an evolution of its landmark 2005 trimaran ferry, consisting of a main (centre) long and slender hull and two side hulls. 

The vessel utilises the company’s trimaran technology, combining the softer roll of mono hulls with the low resistance, stability and carrying capacity of catamarans, to open up new mar kets beyond existing fast ferry designs.

Both Austal and Endeavour Award judges said the technology allows the vessel to use less power than other high speed craft operating at similar speeds, resulting in lower fuel consumption and improved operating economy.

Austal’s FSF-1 contract, which extends into the first quarter of 2012, was awarded by BAE Systems, a global provider of electronic systems, and cyber and intelligence technology for defence and warfare operations.

BAE Systems operates an Australian subsidiary, which is a contracted Australian Defence Force (ADF) provider.

“We are very pleased to be teaming with the professionals from Austal. The ability to harness the strengths of both companies in a cooperative effort will be fundamental to securing future opportunities,” said BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama director and general manager, Vic Rhoades.

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