Defence suppliers rush to jump on Dutch OPV bid

08 February, 2017

Hundreds of defence suppliers are rushing to jump on board Dutch shipmaker Damen’s bid to build Australia’s new fleet of offshore patrol vessels.

One of three European shipbuilders shortlisted for the OPV program, Damen wants to finalise its preferred Australian suppliers by the end of next week to prepare its response to the Federal Government’s tender by 30 March.

The winner of the OPV contract, expected to be worth $3-4 billion, is due to be announced by Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne before the end of the year.

The other shortlisted bidders are Fassmer and Lurssen, both of Germany. 

Daniel Holbrook, Principal Supply Chain Consultant for ICNWA, has noticed a spike in interest from suppliers since more than 300 people attended a CCI-hosted Damen industry briefing at the Hyatt on Friday.

Since then, about 30 new companies have registered their interest in the Damen project on www.damen.icn.org.au, bringing the total Australia-wide registrations up to 260, he said.

Holbrook says WA companies chasing work on the OPVs – most of the vessels will be built at Henderson starting in 2020 – should lodge their details on the web page as soon as possible. Expressions of interest for Damen’s packages are due to close on 17 February.

Damen has pledged to set up its Australian headquarters at Henderson as part of its tender pitch to maximise Australian industry opportunities.

At Friday’s briefing, Damen project manager Wolter ten Bokkel Huinink said his responsibility in the OPV project was the Federal Government’s requirement for a detailed Australian Industry Capability Plan.

“We have a team of about 30 working on the tender documentation and we realise that this industry capability plan is the most important part – we cannot do this without you.”

The other shortlisted OPV shipmakers are Fassmer and Lurssen, both of Germany.

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