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Austal relies on integrated solution

19 June 2018

Key Information

InfraBuild Steel Centre is working alongside defence contractor Austal to supply steel for 21 patrol vessels to be gifted to Pacific Island nations by the Commonwealth of Australia.

InfraBuild Steel Centre (formerly LIBERTY OneSteel Metalcentre) is playing a significant role in a project designed to enhance maritime security across the South Pacific.

The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) Program forms part of the Australian Commonwealth’s Pacific Maritime Security Program and will involve the delivery of 21 steel vessels to 13 Pacific Island nations from late 2018. The first of the Austal Pacific Patrol Boat vessels was launched on 31 May, with the remaining boats to be delivered over the next five years.

Austal Ships’ $330 million contract with the Australian government covers the construction of the vessels at Austal’s Henderson Shipyard in Western Australia, with a sustainment support contract for an initial seven-year period valued at approximately $24 million.

InfraBuild Steel Centre’s Hakan Magill says the company’s steel supply contract is evidence of its ability to manage large projects and provide additional value to its customer.

InfraBuild Steel Centre is supplying steel plate for the project

“We’ve been able to help Austal by providing an integrated service,” Hakan says. “The client doesn’t have to manage the process themselves – they give us the purchase order and we provide them steel that has been blasted, painted to their specifications, cut to size using our plasma machines and delivered to their workshop as a finished product so they can assemble each boat.”

He says that the Australian government specified majority Australian steel be used for the project. Just over 100 tonnes of Australian-made steel plate will make up each PPB, with an additional 12 tonnes of flat bar, angle and pipe used.

He adds that that the Perth Operations and Sales team are able to provide added value by ensuring Austal receives the processed steel exactly when they need it.

Integrated service provision and ‘just-in-time’ delivery are key value-adds

“We carry the stock, we deliver it to schedule and Austal take it off the racks and literally start welding with it,” Hakan says. “Now that one vessel has been completed already, hulls two and three are currently in production, and the fourth one we are just about to start cutting.”

Matt Klingberg, Austal’s Project Manager for the PPB-R Project, says the new ‘Guardian-class’ patrol boat project is the first steel-hull naval vessel construction initiative undertaken by Austal and has confirmed that the project is both on time and on budget:

“In just two years, we’ve launched the first vessel and have three more vessels under construction – a great testament to our team and valued suppliers like InfraBuild Steel Centre, which has helped us meet all contract schedules to date and exceeded expectations for quality and productivity.”

It’s expected that each PPB will be used to carry out duties throughout the Pacific involving fisheries protection, trans-national crime, and search and rescue.

Based on a proven patrol boat design platform, the PPB can accommodate 23 people and is 39.5 metres long with a beam of eight metres and a loaded draft of 2.5 metres. The PPB has a 3000 nautical mile range at 12 knots and is capable of reaching speeds up to 20 knots.