Australian construction and engineering company Civmec has agreed to jointly bid for the construction of 12 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) through its wholly owned subsidiary Forgacs Marine and Defence ASC Shipbuilding.

Both companies have also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to join forces for the Commonwealth Government’s OPV programme Project SEA 1180.

Forgacs and ASC Shipbuilding were jointly selected by shortlisted designers B.V. Scheepswerf Damen Gorinchem of the Netherlands and Lürssen Werft GmbH & Co. KG of Germany to work with them on their bids for the project.

The companies will also work to explore opportunities related to the development of other minor war vessels for the Royal Australian Navy and export markets.

Forgacs and ASC will set up a joint venture (JV) if the tender is successful, which would work on constructing the OPVs by utilising the skills and expertise of the European ship designers.

"The new JV is set to offer an integrated solution for OPV development, with a seamless transition of the construction activity from South Australia to Western Australia."

Two of the 12 OPVs will be developed at ASC Shipbuilding’s facilities in South Australia, while the rest will be manufactured at Civmec / Forgacs’ facilities in Western Australia.

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Civmec chairman James Fitzgerald said: “It sees the two main shipbuilding hubs of Adelaide in South Australia and Henderson in Western Australia becoming closely linked in a relationship that will offer considerable advantages to a national naval shipbuilding industry.”

The new JV is set to offer an integrated solution for OPV development, with a seamless transition of the construction activity from South Australia to Western Australia.

ASC Shipbuilding and Forgacs' JV will also help contribute to the naval shipbuilding policy of the Federal Government of Australia, as well as develop foundations for a new look at the country’s future shipbuilding capabilities.