1 November 2016
An American builder of surface warships and submarines is the latest international giant seeking a share of Australia’s $95 billion naval shipbuilding program.
Huntington Ingalls Industries, which designed and built 70 per cent of the US Navy’s surface warships and half its nuclear submarine fleet, has offered to help guide the Royal Australian Navy’s 56-ship building program.
The company hopes ultimately to have a role servicing American warships in Australia as part of the US rebalance to the region.
The first officials from the company arrived at the weekend to open an office in Canberra, with vice-president Jeff McCray saying HII would offer shipbuilding advice and fleet maintenance.
A key role it offered was to help Australia build and train the workforce for the huge naval construction program, he said.
Ultimately, HII hoped to help sustain warships from the Australian and US navies in the region. An early task would be to build relationships with local companies to service and sustain the fleets.
HII is the world’s largest shipbuilder working only on building and maintaining warships. It has 35,000 employees.
Mike Smith, HII’s executive vice-president of strategy and development, said the move would allow the company to better support the US Navy in the western Pacific. “Having a presence also affords us the opportunity to support the Royal Australian Navy as they upgrade their fleet, train their navy and shipbuilders, and enhance their shipbuilding capabilities,” he said.