Engineering and shipbuilding company Forgacs has declared that it strongly supports the federal government’s decision to establish a continuous build strategy for surface warships, and is confident it will play a significant role.
But meanwhile, with its work on the Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program due to be completed in January, the company is looking to continue its push to diversify its business, as a spokesperson explained.
“Naval shipbuilding will always be a big focus for Forgacs; however, the company is working hard to win work in land-based engineering sectors to bridge the immediate gap in work within the shipbuilding industry,” the spokesperson told Australian Defence Business Review.
“The company is currently implementing a four-pronged development strategy aimed at insulating the company from the peak-and-trough nature of naval shipbuilding. We are heavily focused on winning land-based engineering work within the mining, industrial and major infrastructure sectors.”
Key initiatives include moving to expand ship-repair capabilities by upgrading its slipway facility in Newcastle so as to be able to handle 60-metre vessels weighing up to 800 tonnes. Forgacs announced in August last year that it had acquired precision engineering and aerospace company Broens, marking the first step in its diversification strategy.
Industry has broadly welcomed Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s promise to implement a continuous build strategy, which guaranteed that the Australian shipbuilding workforce would construct the Future Frigates and Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Royal Australian Navy.
At this stage, it is too early to say what sort of role Forgacs might seek to play. “What I can say is that Forgacs is a very capable block builder,” the company spokesperson said. “Our capabilities are second to none, and we are working hard to ensure we keep as much of this capability as possible during the immediate gap in the shipbuilding program.
“In addition to block building, our core strengths lie in the construction of vessels up to 60 metres. Forgacs operates a purpose-built shipbuilding facility that is very well suited to construction of OPVs. Most recently, the company has teamed up with Thales in a bid to build patrol boats for the Pacific nations.”