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Navantia Australia teams up with Austal & Civmec for future Australian Navy's corvettes.

| 2023

According to a PR published by Navantia on November 7, 2023, Navantia Australia has joined forces with Australian shipbuilders Austal and Civmec to propose the design and construction of six advanced corvettes for the Royal Australian Navy.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 A model of the Tasman class corvette at Indo Pacific 2023. (Picture source: Navantia)

This collaboration aims to address the urgent need for Australia to enhance its naval fleet with vessels that require smaller crews but maintain robust anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine, electronic, and asymmetric warfare capabilities, including sovereign solutions like the Australian Saab combat system and CEA Technologies radars.

Since November 2022, the trio has been working together on a detailed proposal. The offer was initially presented to the Commonwealth of Australia as a response to the 2023 Defence Strategic Review (DSR) and an independent fleet analysis. The project was publicly announced at the Indopacific expo, attended by the company’s president, Ricardo Domínguez.

Named the Tasman class, these corvettes would be entirely built at Henderson in Western Australia. With an advanced design based on an operational reference ship, production could start promptly.

Israel Lozano, director of Navantia Australia, mentioned that each company contributes essential skills to the collaboration: Navantia brings design experience, Austal contributes its skilled workforce, and Civmec provides modern facilities and its history with Arafura-class ships. He emphasized that this alliance, coupled with Navantia's history of technology transfer, aims to forge a comprehensive shipbuilding hub in Western Australia.

Austal’s CEO, Paddy Gregg, highlighted the company’s track record of delivering ships for the Australian Navy on time and within budget, utilizing third-party designs and fostering collaborative relationships across the value chain.

Jim Fitzgerald, Civmec’s chairman, expressed excitement about working with Navantia and Austal to deliver six or more corvettes on schedule and within budget. He emphasized that the partnership combines Civmec and Austal's skilled personnel with Navantia's technological expertise to deliver internationally renowned ships locally built.

The Navantia-proposed corvette is based on the established Avante-class family, adapted for Australian needs with features essential for the Royal Australian Navy’s operations.

These include superior endurance and range for effective regional force projection, enhanced at-sea maintenance capacity, and improved strike capability with NSM anti-surface missiles and MK-41 vertical launching system cells.

The corvettes will also integrate the Saab 9LV combat management system, CEA FAR OPVR radar, the newly announced naval strike missiles, and the MH60-R Seahawk helicopter.

With a crew of fewer than 100, commonality with other Australian Navy vessels designed by Navantia, and aligned with the Defence Seaworthiness Management System, these corvettes significantly reduce training and ACV risks, enabling Australia to swiftly and confidently enhance its naval capacity.

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