August 30, 2004

Austal to bid on amphibious ships

Australia's Austal Limited looks to be eyeing ever bigger targets.

Austal Limited today announced that it had teamed with Raytheon Australia (a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon Company (NYE:RTN) to bid for the upcoming Australian Government tender to build two amphibious ships, which is due to be issued in early 2005.

When last reported on this project, it was to note that French shipbuilding group Armaris (a joint-venture of DCN and Thales) and Spanish shipbuilding group IZAR were be asked to participate in a funded risk reduction and design study for the ships. Armaris was being asked for detailed information relating to three variants of its Mistral design: the military off-the-shelf design which is currently in production; a modified design providing for increased troop capacity; and an option based on the original extended Mistral design. IZAR was being asked to provide detailed information relating to its Strategic Projection Ship design.

"By combining Austal's impressive track record of on time, on budget shipbuilding with Raytheon's expertise in electronic systems, we have created a powerful team to build and support the new amphibious vessels, along with considerable potential to bid for other naval contracts in the future," said Austal's Managing Director, Bob McKinnon.

The amphibious vessel project has an indicative cost of Australian $1.5 to $2 billion (about US$1 to $1.4 billion). The preferred tenderer is likely to be identified by late 2005, with in-service delivery planned between 2010 and 2014.


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