PAGC2301 Asia Pacific DefenceMinister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor visited Navantia Australia’s Naval Design and Engineering Centre (DEC) in Docklands, Victoria on Thursday, 27 July 2023, meeting with the Centre’s 100 strong Australian workforce. The DEC is the heart of Navantia Australia’s naval ship design and engineering capacity and is dedicated to delivering technological solutions to the Royal Australian Navy.

The Design and Engineering Centre, led by Chief Operations Officer, Mr Jamie Gibbs, is focussed on developing Australia’s future naval ship capability and supporting through-life four classes of warships currently in-service with the Royal Australian Navy – the Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Docks vessels and landing craft, the Hobart Class Guided Missile Destroyers, and the Supply Class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) vessels.

During the visit, O’Connor toured the facility and had the opportunity to gain experience from Navantia Australia’s employees about the expansive range of project management, engineering, design, platform integration and integrated logistic services being delivered by the DEC. The Minister also addressed the workforce and thanked them for their efforts in supporting Australia’s defence forces.

Managing Director, Israel Lozano, said that Navantia Australia’s growing local design capabilities are significant and that the DEC is instrumental in delivering world-class design and engineering services for Australia. “Navantia Australia is continuing to grow and develop our sovereign capability, which means not only drawing on the best engineers and naval architects around the country, but also developing an end-to-end capability and capacity for Australia,” said Lozano.

Established in 2017, today the DEC workforce has grown to become a strategic defence asset for the Commonwealth. This has been achieved through a continuous investment in building the next generation of Australian maritime engineers, including through undergraduate internship and graduate programs. Navantia Australia is also collaborating with veterans’ employment programs such as those run through RSL, Soldier On, and Veterans Affairs, to attract former service men and women who provide highly valued operational experience and knowledge.

The Naval Design and Engineering Centre works in partnership with Navantia Australia’s field engineering teams located in Sydney and Western Australia, Australian small-and-medium-sized enterprises and supply chain and Defence Partners to ensure the success of modernisations, upgrades, updates, and upkeep of 60 per cent of Navy’s major surface fleet.

A critical factor in growing the skills needed to achieve an autonomous ship design capability in Australia is Navantia Spain’s commitment through continuous support through training, and transfer of knowledge to Navantia Australia and its partners. Navantia Australia’s role in sustainment and the transfer of design authority to Australia enables its workforce to mature into a sustainable design and engineering base.

Partnerships with universities and collaborations in research and development projects are a key source of talent and innovation. Navantia Australia has established talent pipelines with multiple Australian universities and is also keen on supporting curriculum development and participation in educational programs through micro-credentials and post-graduate programs. These collaborations extend beyond engineering disciplines and include digital and innovative disruptive technologies.

Navantia Australia’s development to build a competitive sovereign design export ability is demonstrated by its solution for the Australian Army’s medium littoral vessel, the Kodal LMV-M, a design conceived and developed entirely by the Melbourne DEC to meet Australian requirements. Navantia Australia’s involvement in the award winning LHD Landing Craft Enhancement Project and its Joint Support Ship concept developed in 2019 are other milestones in its sovereign naval ship design capability journey.


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