Austal commenced operations in 1988 with a vision to build high quality commercial vessels for the international market. By the company's fifth anniversary, Austal had become the world's leading manufacturer of 40 metre passenger catamarans and the dominant supplier to Asia.
It was in Hong Kong as early as 1993, that Austal introduced gas turbine propulsion and the first two installations of the Austal developed motion control system. The success in Asia and the introduction of a range of sophisticated, large vehicle-carrying fast ferries were the springboard for ongoing growth in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Asia-Pacific.
Today, Austal is the world's largest builder of fast ferries and is proud to list amongst its customers many of the world's leading fast ferry and shipping operators.
Austal listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in December 1998 and has diversified its product base through acquisitions of local shipbuilders, the establishment of a new US shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, and the recent purchase of an existing aluminium shipyard in Tasmania, Australia.
In 1998 Austal entered the patrol boat market securing an order for eight Bay Class vessels for the Australian Customs Service. Sizeable orders from other Australian and International agencies, including the Royal Australian Navy, have cemented the company's place among the world's elite patrol vessel builders.
In 2001, Austal became the first company to supply the US military with a high speed vessel, the Theatre Support Vessel (TSV).
In 2004, the US Department of Defense awarded a final design contract for the US Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) project to prime contractor Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics company. Austal is the LCS seaframe designer and builder. The first order for a US$223 million prototype was successfully awarded to the General Dynamics/Austal Littoral Combat Ship Team in October 2005.
The Austal-built LCS 2 "Independence" is based on the same 127 metre trimaran hullform of a revolutionary fast ferry delivered in 2005 that not only provided full scale validation for the LCS proposal but, by showing increased passenger comfort in operation, adds further impetus to the already strong interest being shown in trimarans by ferry and defence operators. LCS 2 "Independence" was launched at Austal's Mobile, Alabama shipyard in April 2008.
In November 2008, Austal was awarded the contract to to design and build the US Department of Defence’s next generation multi-use platform, the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). As Prime contractor, Austal will design and construct the first 103-metre JHSV, with options for 9 additional vessels expected to be exercised between FY09 and FY13.
There is little doubt, Austal provides one of the most substantial product bases of any shipbuilder worldwide.
This includes passenger and vehicle-passenger ferries, coastal combat ships, high speed military support vessels, patrol boats, cruise vessels, live-aboards, offshore crew/supply boats and private vessels.
Austal's success in aluminium ship building is based on:
Last update by -, Mon 4 May 2009