The little boats that could: from Port Macquarie to the US Army

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The Hon Christopher Pyne MP

Minister for Defence Industry

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14 April 2018

Birdon, a family-owned engineering and services business headquartered in Port Macquarie, today handed over the first of 374 Australian designed Bridge Erection Boats to the US Army under a $325 million contract.

It’s an outstanding export success for Birdon, who recently completed the upgrade of the Australian Army’s own Bridge Erection Boats under a $16 million contract.

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, congratulated Birdon for the successful delivery and upgrades as it demonstrates the effectiveness and the export potential of Australian defence industry.

“These boats are used by engineers to put together portable floating bridges for improvised crossings, so our vehicles and troops can keep on the move. It’s a vital capability for any Army, and it is fantastic that the US Army chose an Australian company to build them,” Minister Pyne said.

The upgrade of Australia’s boats sustained over 20 Australian jobs in Port Macquarie. The boats for the US Army are built in Birdon’s facility in Denver, Colorado.

“The delivery of the first of 374 of these boats to the US Army shows that Australia’s defence industry is creating innovative, globally competitive products,” Minister Pyne said.

“Through the Defence Export Strategy, we will see more companies like Birdon achieving success in the highly competitive international defence market.”

Birdon received support from Efic to establish their new production facility in the US and support their growth.

The first 34 boats were handed over during a First Unit Equipped Ceremony at the US Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

The Defence Export Strategy was released on 29 January 2018. The Government has committed an additional $20 million funding annually from 2018-19 to support Australia’s defence exports through the initiatives detailed in the Strategy.

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