Italian naval frigate docks in Adelaide in bid to secure lucrative contract
By Daniel Keane
Updated about 5 hours ago
An Italian naval frigate has docked in Adelaide in a bid to help its manufacturer secure a multi-billion-dollar federal contract, but Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne says there is no clear frontrunner among the designs competing for the work.
The FREMM-class frigate is one of three options being considered by the Australian Government for the $35-billion Future Frigates deal.
The vessels are made by Italian firm Fincantieri, which is competing against BAE Systems and Spanish company Navantia to build nine frigates for the Australian Navy.
Construction will begin at naval industry hub Techport in 2020 and the project is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs.
Mr Pyne has toured the Italian ship and said each of the designs had advantages and disadvantages.
“One of the advantages for this company is this vessel has been built, it is already in operation,” he said.
“One of the disadvantages is that the company doesn’t operate here.”
Mr Pyne said the “vast majority” of the work would be “done in South Australia and Australia”.
“There are probably some of the technical aspects that will be built overseas in terms of … some of the high-end work we don’t do here,” he said.
“The weaponry of course will be United States’ weaponry. That will be integrated into the winning vessel.”
Ship at ‘cutting edge’ of weapons technology
The mid-sized ship has advanced guns and torpedoes, and space for up to 200 sailors.
Commander Francesco Pagnotta said his particular vessel, named Carabiniere, was delivered to the Italian Navy in 2015 and had performed a number of roles since then.
“This is a ship that has made a lot of missions,” he said.
“Last year the ship was deployed in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden for the anti-piracy mission.”
South Australian Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said the vessel was open to the public and would stay docked at Outer Harbor for five days.
“It will be an opportunity for individual companies, including workers, to get on board the ship and see the standard required,” he said.
“There is an array of sensors and combat systems here that are at the very cutting edge of software technology and weapons systems technology.
“My principle message for defence industry is to get down and visit the ship, tour the ship, look at the standard of engineering, project management that will be required to ensure your company is ready to go with this work.”
As part of the visit, Fincantieri will host an industry forum on Thursday.
The successful vessels will replace the Anzac-class frigate and will have greater anti-submarine capabilities than their predecessors.
Original post abc.net.au
Main image aviationwa.org.au
Bergamini class (FREMM) frigates: Details