Adelaide-based advanced engineering and construction company Novafast Holdings has launched its new $4 million Australian-first defence manufacturing capabilities for composite production after securing its first major defence contract.
The new state-of-the-art facility, which officially opened Tuesday, 28 June by South Australian Defence Minister Susan Close, will service Novafast’s first defence contract with BAE Systems Australia’s maritime division.
ADIA CEO Peter Hall was also in attendance for the opening of the new facility which has developed a world-leading robotic technique to manufacture advanced and automated composite piping and fittings for use within large scale defence manufacturing including maritime, land, and air as well as other major industry sectors.
Novafast are an ADIA member and known for their high quality fiberglass casing for water bores.
Novafast Business Manager David Figallo said the contract, which will support the Hunter Class Frigate Program, enables the company to enhance its sovereign manufacturing capability and support future naval shipbuilding programs.
“We are pleased to partner with BAE Systems Australia to deliver world-class defence manufacturing capabilities in South Australia,” he said.
“Novafast is utilising its composite pipe technology, developed internally by our Research & Development team, to support the representative ship blocks that are being constructed as part of the Hunter program’s prototyping phase.
“As the only Australian-based manufacturer of GRE composite pipes, Novafast aims to be the global leader in composite technologies and production processes using our advanced and automated production processes.
“At a time when Australia is facing increasing uncertainty in the region, it positions us as a key sovereign capability industry partner, and we’re delighted to have the partnership of BAE Systems to undertake this work in Australia.”
BAE Systems Australia Managing Director – Maritime, Craig Lockhart, said the company is committed to working with Australian industry to help grow local capability.
“We have awarded more than 40 separate contracts to Australian businesses to support the Hunter program’s early design and productionisation phase, and that number will grow as we progress towards construction of the first three Hunter class frigates,” Craig said.
“The Hunter Class Frigate Program will deliver critical capability to the Royal Australian Navy but will also provide much of the nation’s independent sovereign capability, and our supply chain is key to that success.
“By engaging local businesses we are supporting and creating Australian jobs, and building an enduring sovereign capability that will support our country’s continuous naval shipbuilding strategy for future generations.”
In 2021, Novafast received a $2 million Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) Federal Government grant to invest in the new robotic technology which is the centrepiece of the new facility.
“This technology is a significant boost for the defence industry both locally and nationally,” said Mr Figallo.
“The facility has already created 15 highly skilled roles and is projected to have created more than 25 roles by late 2023 as the first batch of ships go into production.
“This investment is helping to create jobs for South Australian’s now and into the future.”