Liferaft Systems Australia to benefit from major defence contract

DERWENT Park company Liferaft Systems Australia (LSA) has welcomed an announcement by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that BAE Systems will equip the Royal Australian Navy with a fleet of nine highly-advanced frigates, transforming not only the Navy but Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capabilities.

LSA is specified to supply Marine Evacuation Systems (MES) for each of the nine Hunter Class global combat ships to be built in Australia by BAE Systems from 2020.

LSA managing director Mike Grainger said the announcement – worth approximately $10 million to the Tasmanian company – was “great news.”

“Each vessel will have four MES installed,” he said.

“There will be two 11-metre inflatable evacuation slides with 115-person liferafts attached and two 14-metre evacuation slides with a 115-person liferaft attached.

“The contract will be completed over about 10 years.”

Mr Grainger said LSA was set to increase its workforce at its Derwent Park facility to accommodate the new project.

“LSA currently employs 70 FTEs,” he said.

“This will likely increase to around 80.”

Mr Grainger said LSA had already successfully contracted with BAE Systems UK to provide MES for the first batch of three Type 26 Global Combat Ships (GCS) for the UK Department of Defence.

The Hunter Class ships for the Australian Navy are based on the Type 26 GCS.

“When built, the new vessels will be the first class operating in the Royal Australian Navy to have LSA MES installed,” he said.

“We look forward to working closely with BAE Systems Australia to supply our world class product to one of the world’s best shipbuilders and navies.”

Tasmanian Defence Advocate Rear Admiral (Ret) Steve Gilmore congratulated LSA and highlighted his recognition of the considerable capabilities that are resident in the state.

Caption: Liferaft Systems Australia managing director Mike Grainger, left, with Minister for Advanced Manufacturing and Defence Industries Jeremy Rockliff.