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Warships jobs boom

June 21, 2007 02:15am

THE Federal Government's decision to go with the cheaper Spanish Navantia design for three new air warfare destroyers has opened up the possibility of a fourth being ordered.

The first of the destroyers should hit the water in 2014 after the Government agreed to the nearly $8 billion price tag at a special meeting of the national security committee of Cabinet on Tuesday evening.

ASC, formerly called Australian Submarine Corporation, will build the ships. The third vessel is scheduled for launch in 2017 - three years before what would have happened with the rival U.S. bid.

By that time, the State Government expects 4000 direct and indirect jobs will have been created by the project.

Premier Mike Rann and Treasurer Kevin Foley yesterday were at the site of the proposed Techport facility, which would support ASC's construction of the new destroyer.

Mr Rann said the State Government would invest $374 million in the Techport site at Osborne.

He said $31.4 million of this would be for a new air warfare destroyer systems centre.

The centre, which already has created more than 300 hi-tech jobs, is located at Felixstow.

Mr Rann said it would relocate to Techport in the first half of 2009, providing work for architects, warship designers, systems engineers and project managers.

"This consolidates SA as the centre for naval shipbuilding expertise in Australia," he said. "The decision to award the contract for a smaller Navantia design could lead to a fourth ship being built here - a move the Government will strongly support."

ASC Ship Building chief executive officer John Gallacher said it was not for the company to speculate on any government decision to build a fourth ship but it was a possibility.

"The contract we've got is for three but they've looked at the possibility of an option for a fourth," Mr Gallacher said. Government sources confirmed a fourth ship could become a feature of contract negotiations in November.

Mr Foley said the State Government aimed to double the defence sector's contribution to Gross State Product to $2 billion within 10 years. "Our aim now is to build on that momentum and bring more of the industry and jobs into our state and to achieve our target of increasing SA's defence workforce from 16,000 to 28,000 within 10 years," he said.

"This is an exciting time."

Mr Foley said the Spanish design would give SA as much work locally as if the U.S. Gibbs and Cox ship proposal had been accepted.

Federal Opposition defence spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon welcomed the decision but said the Government had "form" on cost blowouts for defence spending.

He said this included the joint strike fighter, the Seasprite and Tiger helicopters and the frigates.

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$100m shipyard to be built in SA

June 27, 2007 01:43pm

ADELAIDE building company Hansen Yuncken has won the first major contract for the $8-billion Air Warfare Destroyer program.

The $100-million contract, to construct the shipyard, is expected to provide 250 jobs at the ASC docks-site at Osbourne.

Hansen Yuncken will build workshops, warehouses and offices at the 16ha site, in preparation for ASC to construct the three warships for the Royal Australian Navy.

Senator Nick Minchin, who made the announcement on site this morning, said the shipyard provided enormous opportunities for the state's economy and would ultimately create 1500 SA jobs.

ASC (formerly the Australian Submarine Corporation) will assemble the three destroyers, with an overall value of $8 billion, at its ship-building base in Osborne in Adelaide's northwest.

The federal government announced last week that the destroyers designed by Spanish company Navantia had been selected for the the Royal Australian Navy.

ASC will assemble the ships in an alliance with Navantia, the Defence Materiel Organisation and Raytheon.

ASC Shipbuilding chief executive officer John Gallacher said today the development of the shipyard held unique challenges.

"Our shipyard production facilities and infrastructure will need to be capable of handling and transporting ship components weighing up to 1,200 tonnes each, this is no common development project," Mr Gallacher said.

The shipyard is expected to be completed by October 2009.

Hansen Yuncken is also responsible for building the $242 million Adelaide Airport terminal and the Commonwealth Law Courts building.
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