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Australia selects Navantia to build its two logistics ships

Foto: Ángel Manso

Navantia beats the Korean Daewoo to get a contract that will be executed entirely in Ferrol

Navantia has just taken a giant step in the race to construct its two logistics combat ships for the Australian Navy for which it competes with the Korean shipyard Daewoo. The Spanish state owned company, which has high expectations in obtaining this contract, has been selected by the southern country Defense Department as preferred tenderer. That means, the one which has submitted the offer that best suits the Marina of the Antipodes, government sources have confirmed. From now on, the negotiation period of the contract starts, which will focus exclusively on Navantia. That does not mean that Daewoo has been completely discarded, something, moreover, common in this kind of tenders for defense material export.

Although a deadline for these negotiations has not been set, the Defense Ministry intends to award the contract whose amount has not been stated- before the end of the first half of the year. This was recently confirmed by the Embassy of Australia in Spain to this newspaper.

For the Galician state owned shipyards, this contract is of great importance, since according to Navantia, the two ships, based on the Cantabria design that was built for the Spanish Navy, shall be fully built in Ferrol.

The manufacture of ships will involve about three million hours of work, almost three times the maritime action ship (BAM) being built currently at the old Bazán, which will encourage employment for about 2,000 people in the peak of the program, which will last four years.

Navantia is once again cautious: "We are not in a position to make statements or provide information about the process which the customer has classified confidential ' an official spokesman from the company said. However, he admitted that they continue to work to close the contract. "We do not know the customer´s schedule, they added.

There have been several strong points in choosing Navantia. On one hand, the Cantabria was integrated into the fleet of the country for almost a year, which allowed its commanders know their performance and operability. Also, Navantia manufactured two mega-ships-the Canberra and Adelaide-, in Ferrol. It was also awarded the contract for the design, technical assistance and technology transfer in the destroyers´ program. The good relationship between the Spanish company and the Australian Defense Department have been affirmed few months ago when the latter assigned once again the destroyers contract to Navantia, due to schedule delays and increased cost of the work.

The fact that the last ships of the fleet for the Antipodes were manufactured in Ferrol, with systems and equipment that are expected to also join the logistics, is another factor that has strengthened the position of the Spanish company in the tender. In recent years, Navantia has spared no effort to grow in Australia, where it already has four centers -in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Camberra- mainly staff moved from Ferrol.

In need of works
Galician public shipyards need new contracts to avoid being forced into another big break. Next summer the vessel being manufactured for the Mexican oil company Pemex will be delivered and then, only the construction of the BAM for the Spanish Navy will remain to be done. The company has its sights set also in Saudi Arabia, which has already authorized the purchase of five corvettes to Navantia, but the signature of the contract is still missing.

(Source: La Voz de Galicia)

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