Negotiations with Austal for RAN OPV development programme fall apart

15 May 2018 (Last Updated May 15th, 2018 12:47)

German shipbuilding company Luerssen's negotiations with Austal for the development of offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) have reportedly fallen through.

German shipbuilding company Luerssen’s negotiations with Austal for the development of offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) have reportedly fallen through.

Luerssen, the prime contractor in the country’s SEA 1180 OPV construction programme, has announced that Austal will no longer participate in the project.

The Australian Government originally appointed Luerssen as the prime contractor for the delivery of 12 new OPVs for the RAN in November last year.

"We are grateful to the government for the continuous support and endorsement they have provided to Austal, both in this programme and in our commercial and defence operations."

Luerssen was asked to explore options to leverage the wider shipbuilding base at Henderson in Western Australia (WA) as part of the initiative.

The development would have enabled Australian shipbuilder Austal to participate in the OPV construction programme in WA, subject to commercial negotiations.

Negotiations between the two companies have been underway since December last year in relation to the project.

However, the discussions have been called off as the parties failed to reach a viable commercial agreement.

The new WA OPVs will now be built by Luerssen in collaboration with Forgacs, a wholly owned subsidiary of Civmec.

Austal has since acknowledged the announcement by Luerssen.

Austal CEO David Singleton said: “We are grateful to the government for the continuous support and endorsement they have provided to Austal, both in this programme and in our commercial and defence operations around the world.

“The current pipeline of work enables Austal to sustain the operations at Henderson, while we continue to compete for additional commercial and defence orders.”

Austal is currently engaged in the construction of a 109m-long Catamaran in Henderson for a European customer.

The vessel is in the final stages of development and is slated be launched in the coming months.

Austal is also scheduled to commence the construction of a 117m-long trimaran, which is set to be the first vessel of its kind that the company has developed in the country since 2005.

In addition, the company is currently constructing Pacific Patrol Boats in Henderson for the RAN.