Forgacs Newcastle Shipyard & Floating Dock
ADI Carrington Slipways, Tomago, Newcastle
This key facility on the Port of Newcastle – 150 kilometers north of Sydney – is ideal for conversions, refits, unscheduled repairs and maintenance. Full docking and serviced wharf facilities are complemented by accommodation for customer ship management personnel and ship staff offices, duty watch, training and ship keeping teams during maintenance availabilities.
Forgacs Engineering Pty Ltd is the proud owner of the purpose built Ship Building site on the outskirts of Newcastle known as the Forgacs Tomago Shipyard. Site of the Australian Air Warfare Destroyer build contract, this 40 acre facility offers key ship building capability on Australia’s East Coast. Both the HMAS TOBRUK and AURORA AUSTRALIS were built at Tomago. This site has been the builder of a range of commercial vessels, including cargo ships, tugs, ferries, and luxury cruisers, as well as the builder of Naval vessels including HMAS Tobruk, and a range of modules in support of the ANZAC and Collins Class Submarine programs. The site has built the luxury passenger catamaran “Seafaris” in recent times, which has been judged World’s Best in its class at the prestigious Monte Carlo Boat Show, and is testament to the competence and attention to detail of the skilled team at Forgacs. Forgacs Engineering is able to provide stable long term In-Life-Service to the vessels it builds via the extensive range of Ship Repair Services along the east coast of Australia.
Forgacs acquired Carrington Engineering in Parker Street (formerly Newcastle Engineering) in 1999. Forgacs indicated it was interested in tendering on a a naval contract for 15 to 26 patrol boats with a steel-hulled design that it would build at the former Carrington Slipways site it owns at Tomago.
ADI's key project was as the prime contractor for the Huon class Minehunter contract. Defence awarded the $917 million project to ADI in 1994 to build six Minehunter coastal vessels. ADI built the vessels at the greenfield site of Carrington in Newcastle, employing 'a completely new greenfield workforce for the…project'. It delivered all six ships on schedule. ADI's achievement in keeping to schedule was all the more impressive given it had design authority and pursued a concurrent design and build program. It was the first Australian-sourced naval defence project in which the prime contractor was given design authority. A January 2002 report by Tasman Economics noted that ADI had estimated that 80 per cent of the design work had been undertaken in Australia. ADI and its subcontractors modified the Italian design to include an upgrade to the sonar, a new combat system, an upgraded air conditioning system, improved accommodation and an extension of the upper deck. The first composite hull was manufactured in Italy; all subsequent hulls were completed at the new Carrington facility.
A key to ADI's success in the project was its investment in an onshore integration facility to integrate the combat system. This facility was able to simulate the CDS technology in the environment that the ships would encounter. The 2002 Tasman Economics report noted that this approach 'minimised the risk associated with this complex task and enabled the conduct of the first-of-class trials to be undertaken within a tight contract schedule'.
ADI also relied on a strong skills base, drawn from various subcontractors and small and medium sized enterprises. The Tasman Economics report noted that nearly 85 per cent of businesses supplying the Minehunter project were located in New South Wales. The project also exceeded the specified 68.4 per cent of the contract value required as local content. As with Tenix's build of the ANZAC frigates, a key factor in the high level of AII was the role of the Industrial Supplies Office. The Tasman Economics report noted that ADI worked closely with an ISO consultant for five years. As a result of this interaction, 'at least $55 million of the initially proposed imports were replaced with products manufactured by local industry'.
The Minehunter project was the most significant example of ADI's ability to manage large naval shipbuilding projects. Apart from its local skill base and infrastructure, the company's capability was enhanced through its joint ownership by the French Group Thales. Mr Geoff Smith, ADI's former Director of Naval Sales and Marketing, noted: "Our group is a highly experienced naval systems developer, integrator, designer and prime contractor, as evidenced by our successful delivery of the $1 billion minehunter project and our activity as the nation’s leading naval repair, maintenance and upgrade contractor. Our prime contracting creditability is further significantly enhanced by our reach-back capability to our part owner, Thales, which has prime contracting experience in complex projects throughout the world, including the UK aircraft carrier project."
However, while ADI was viable in the ship repair and upgrade activity, it is had problems in meeting schedule and performance specifications. These difficulties were most apparent in ADI's project to upgrade the Adelaide class frigates.
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