Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR March 2010 Contents Clearly successive State Governments have invested a lot in making
Adelaide the defence industry capital of Australia and Premier Rann
indicated that there is more which can be done. At the ceremony he
confidently predicted that the number of local defence jobs would
increase from the present 16,000 to 28,000 in just the next 3 years.
Given that right next to the new Techport site the ASC submarine
facility also has a shiplift – albeit a more modest one – it is to be hoped
that there will be enough work to go around between the 2 States.
Floating dock “Yargan” undergoing tests. Credit: AMC
Named “Yargan” after a legendary turtle, the floating dock is said to
be the most modern in the world of its type and it plays a vital part in
the future of the Australian Marine Complex, which prospers on a mix
of military and commercial work. By some calculations the site, which
is open to any company or organization which wishes to make use
of the State Government funded infrastructure, is now contributing
more than $400 million to the local economy – a figure which is
predicted to grow on the back of the next stage of the mining boom.
This makes the $60 million it cost to build “Yargan” look like a good
investment for the taxpayer.
In a strange way the forthcoming restart of the boom – predicted
to really gather momentum in the second half of 2010 - is both a
blessing and a potential curse. It is expected that there will be an
upsurge in companies wishing to use the site, especially for deep
water oil and gas projects, but that the boom will also lure away many
skilled workers. While no one can predict exactly how many people
will be tempted to go north by the prospect of massive pay packets it
is clearly a worry and will certainly place further upward pressure on
local wages – a prospect which concerns all of the companies spoken
to by APDR to varying degrees.
Nevertheless the floating dock gives the AMC the ability to not only
lift and transfer Collins Class submarines but also the forthcoming
‘Hobart’ Class air warfare destroyers (AWDs). In the longer term there
are plans for a second identical floating dock, which when joined to
“Yargan” could even lift one of the new LHDs. However no decision
has yet been made on this concept and there is likely to be a squabble
between State and Federal Governments as to the source of funds.
Then on February 15 it was the turn of South Australian Premier
Mike Rann at Techport to open their Common User Facility, the
centerpiece of which is a fixed shiplift with a capacity of 9,300 tonnes.
In a forgivable piece of hype, this was described as “the largest shiplift
in the Southern Hemisphere”, which APDR supposes it is, if the
Western Australian floating dock is not taken into account.
The immediate purpose of the shiplift will be to launch the 3 AWDs
from 2013 onwards. Like its Western Australian counterpart, the lift is
supported by rail and wheel-based transporters which will allow ships
– o r parts of them – to be moved around the 35 hectare site.
However, Techport is more than just maritime infrastructure but
will also be the permanent home of the Air Warfare Destroyer systems
centre and a maritime skills development centre as well as other
related facilities. The long term hope is that the common user facility
will also benefit from commercial work, though these plans seem less
advanced than those for the Western Australian site.
Nevertheless the floating dock gives the AMC the
ability to not only lift and transfer Collins Class
submarines but also the forthcoming ‘Hobart’
Class air warfare destroyers (AWDs).
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pyright Juerg Schreiter, 2009 Used under license from Shutterstock.com
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