The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, the UK Secretary of State for Defence, was accompanied by Australia’s Minister for Defence, the Hon Stephen Smith, MP; Australia’s Chief of Defence Force, General David Hurley, AC, DSC; Australia’s Defence Secretary, Mr Dennis Richardson, AO and other defence personnel from both the United Kingdom and Australia.
The visit was hosted by Austal’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Bellamy, who said it was an honour to receive such an important delegation.
“We are delighted that Secretary Hammond and the Australian defence leadership decided to include Austal in a busy schedule centred around the Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN),” he said. “The visit reflects Austal’s status as a global defence prime contractor.”
Mr Bellamy; Austal’s Vice President – Defence, Davyd Thomas; and other senior Austal personnel briefed the visiting party on Austal’s activities in ship design and construction; systems development and integration; and in-service support. This included updates on Austal’s role as prime contractor for the US Navy’s multi-billion dollar Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) programmes, as well as the Cape Class Patrol Boat project being undertaken for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. Austal’s expanding international vessel support network was also discussed in detail.
The visit included a tour of the first Cape Class Patrol Boat, which was recently launched at the shipyard, and a 102 metre Austal trimaran. These demonstrated the advantages of high speed vessel and systems technology very similar to that used in the LCS, JHSV and other Austal defence programmes.