Genoa - The model would be its Riva Trigoso shipyard, at least as far as the mechanical integration facility is concerned. That could mean a piece of Liguria being present in the Italian shipbuilding group’s nascent foray into Australia. The requisite element is that Fincantieri win the tender for the Australian Navy fleet renewal, but a preliminary outline of future plans was provided by Fincantieri Australia head, Sean Costello; these are in line with the goal of the local government to create an entirely autonomous industrial sector, using the Navy’s mega-commission. “There’s work that goes over and above just building the ship, and that’s what we call our industry programme,” Costello explained in an interview with Defence Connect. To beat the competition from the UK (BAE System) and Spain (Navantia) over the huge tender worth over $20 billion, the Italian group led by Giuseppe Bono has come up with a plan to create in Australia an entire shipbuilding chain. For this reason, the offer currently being examined by the Australian government, provides for three “sub-programmes”, as Costello calls them. The first is that of establishing ship design capabilities, and not just military.
Fincantieri’s know-how would cover that part. The second one focuses on building a skilled workforce through a partnership with the Naval Shipbuilding College. Next, comes the third component that is all about creating a supply chain able to support Australia’s shipbuilding industry. “If you have design capability, the concept design, the functional design, and the ability to integrate, and if you have that in an open and collaborative framework as part of your skills and supply chain, you have an industry,” explained Costello, “one that can design and build new vessels, and export its production.” In the meantime, Fincantieri is pushing ahead, and within Australia already has some test orders, with the building of cruise ships components that will then be shipped to the group’s shipyards, to be used in the assembly of ships. It’s partly the phase of groundwork preparation in the overall project of creating an Australian shipbuilding industry, but also a response to cope with the group’s order backlog and limited slots available. For Australia’s navy fleet renewal programme, the Italian group has offered its Fremm Frigate, that is already in operation with the Italian Navy. The winner of this three-way race will be announced by Australia in the second quarter of the year.