The Australian Department of Defence has issued a request for tender to three short-listed designers for the production of offshore patrol vessels.
The three designers, Damen, Fassmer and Luerssen will team up with Australian shipbuilders to enhance the country's maritime surveillance capability.
The potential contracts will cover the production of 12 new offshore patrol vessels to replace the existing Armidale-class patrol boat fleet.
Australia Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne said that the new ships will enhance the country's border protection and patrol missions by providing greater reach and endurance than the Armidale patrol boats.
Australia Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said: “The Request for Tender will require each tenderer to develop an Australian Industry Capability Plan that maximises the opportunities for Australian industry participation.
“This includes how they will transition their existing supply chains to Australian supply chains and how they will integrate local suppliers in their global supply chains.”
Construction of the ships is scheduled to begin in 2018 in Adelaide, before moving to Western Australia in 2020.
The project is expected to create nearly 400 direct jobs.
Pyne further added: “This critical investment will generate significant economic growth and sustain several thousand Australian jobs over decades.”
The project forms a part of the government's $89bn investment in naval ships and submarines over the next 20 years.