The unprecedented government investment in the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise and associated infrastructure continues at a rapid pace at the Western Australian Henderson shipyard.

Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group’s Head Maritime Systems Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm said infrastructure construction and shipbuilding activities at Henderson were on schedule in support of a sovereign naval construction and sustainment industry in this country.

“Time and time again Australian industry has shown its ability to work in concert with Defence, building complex infrastructure and sustaining naval vessels in support of Navy’s ability to protect our maritime interests,” Rear Admiral Malcolm said.

Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group’s First Assistant Secretary Ships Sheryl Lutz said Defence had now made the down-select decision to explore a variant of the offshore patrol vessels for the new mine countermeasures and survey vessels. 

“Known as project SEA 1905 Phase 1, these vessels will be constructed at the Henderson precinct which is one of two naval shipbuilding hubs in Australia,” Ms Lutz said.

“Construction of the replacement for the current Huon-class vessel has now been brought forward from the mid 2030s to the mid 2020s providing even more opportunities for Australian industry.

“Defence has released an invitation to register and request for information on Austender for various components of the mission management system, the integration of the system and the construction of a toolbox of robotic and autonomous systems that the new vessels will require.”

Since the 2016 Defence White Paper, eight ships have already been built and delivered in Western Australia with another eight under construction at Henderson. 

Three classes of vessels are being constructed at Henderson, including 21 Guardian-class vessels, 10 of the 12 Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels and six Evolved Cape-class vessels.

The Anzac-class ships are also undergoing a major midlife upgrade at Henderson. This includes upgrades to systems modernisation activities as well as quality-of-life improvements for the crew, at a cost of more than $1 billion.

As part of this government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan, $75 billion will be spent on Australia’s maritime capabilities over the next decade. This will play a crucial role in supporting Australia’s economy and jobs growth.