Australia lines up credit facility to support defence exports

17 December 2018

The Australian government has confirmed that it will provide state credit to support the potential export of two 58 m Cape-class patrol boats (seen here in operation with the Australian Border Force) to Trinidad and Tobago. Source: Austal Limited

The Australian government announced on 17 December that it will provide state credit to support two local companies' efforts to export radars systems and patrol boats.

The government indicated that it is the first time that the export credit system - officially termed the 'Defence Export Facility' - has been utilised after being established earlier this year.

"A major milestone has been reached on Australia's journey to become a top 10 global defence exporter," said a government statement referring to a target announced in January 2018. "This support for the Australian defence industry will help create and support Australian jobs."

The government added that the credit facility would provide Canberra-headquartered CEA Technologies with a loan of AUD90 million (USD65 million) "to finance the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Canberra to help grow [its] exports and meet Australian Defence Force demand for [its] world-class phased-array radars".

CEA Technologies' CEAFAR2 multiband phased-array radar will be integrated onto the Royal Australian Navy's Hunter-class frigates under the Sea 5000 programme. Australia announced in late 2017 that a version of the radar system is also being considered by the UK Royal Navy.

The government also said that AUD80 million in export credit will support Perth-based Austal's potential sale of two patrol boats to Trinidad and Tobago. "Austal is still in contract negotiations with [Trinidad and Tobago] but has concluded an interim schedule protection agreement to allow work to commence at Austal's centre for excellence in maritime design [in Henderson, Western Australia] to support the sale," said the government.

Austal announced in July that it was close to securing a contract from Trinidad and Tobago for the supply of two 58 m Cape-class patrol boats. The boats will be operated by the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, which in 2008 ordered six 30 m fast patrol craft from Austal for about USD60 million.

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