The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has awarded an additional seven-and-a-half-year Maritime Fleet Sustainment Service contract to engineering firm Babcock.

The contract was signed by Babcock New Zealand general manager James Morton and NZDF Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short.

As agreed, Babcock will offer asset management services to the entire Royal New Zealand Navy fleet.

The scope of works will include engineering, project management, production and operational support among others.

Babcock Australasia CEO David Ruff said: “We are very proud of our long-standing partnership with the NZDF and of our contribution to keeping New Zealand and its Pacific partners safe and secure.

“This award is a further demonstration of our commitment to continue to strengthen the breadth of our support to regional maritime capability in New Zealand, Australia and the broader Asia-Pacific region.”

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Air Marshal Kevin Short said: “One of the unique elements of the contract is that these services are delivered by a team comprised of Babcock employees, Royal New Zealand Navy personnel and NZDF civilians.”

According to a Babcock statement, the new contract will also focus on sustainability.

Notably, the company aims to make New Zealand operations one of the first carbon-zero dockyards in the world.

Morton added: “As a part of this new contract we’ll be training over 100 early career STEM apprentices and graduates and we will be increasing opportunities and collaboration with New Zealand small and medium-sized businesses through Babcock’s supply chain.”

Earlier this month, Babcock International Group signed an agreement to acquire the remaining 50% stake in Australia’s Naval Ship Management (NSM) joint venture.