PARIS — Navantia’s Australian subsidiary has set up a partnership with Australian shipyard Austal and engineering and shipbuilding company Civmec to jointly propose six corvettes for the Royal Australian Navy.

The three companies have been working together on a detailed proposal since November 2022, and they submitted the idea to the Australian government in response to this year’s Defense Strategic Review, Spanish naval shipbuilder Navantia said in a Nov. 7 statement.

Australia’s defense review, published in April, called for the country’s Navy to have a fleet that would be consistent with a strategy of a larger number of smaller surface vessel. Corvette is typically the designation for the smallest category of warship.

“Navantia offers the partnership a mature design for a highly capable vessel, backed by Navantia Australia’s local and proven design capability,” Navantia Australia Director Israel Lozano said in the statement. “Each partner brings a crucial component to the delivery of a project of this scale.”

The proposal was made public at the Indo Pacific 2023 maritime event being held in Sydney. Navantia brings design expertise, Austal has a skilled workforce and Civmec would provide state-of-the-art facilities and experience building Australia’s Arafura-class vessels, according to Lozano.

The proposed corvette is based on Navantia’s Avante family of patrol vessels. The company in 2018 won a contract from Saudi Arabia to build five corvettes bases on the Avante 2200 design, and has been eyeing a follow-up order in 2024.

The Australian vessels, to be called the Tasman class, would be entirely built in Henderson, Western Australia. Production could start quickly, as the design is “very advanced” and based on an operational reference ship, according to Navantia.

“Together with Navantia’s demonstrable track record in technology transfer to build regional capability, this partnership will establish an integrated shipbuilding enterprise in Western Australia,” Lozano said.

The corvettes would each have a crew of less than 100 sailors, and integrate the Saab 9LV combat management system, CEA Technologies’ FAR OPVR radar, Naval Strike Missiles and the Sikorsky MH60-R Seahawk helicopter, Navantia said.

Rudy Ruitenberg is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. He started his career at Bloomberg News and has experience reporting on technology, commodity markets and politics.

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