Industry Delivering - Bit By Bit

AWD blocks under construction at Forgacs, Newcastle, for the first Hobart Class AWD, September 2012
AWD blocks under construction at Forgacs, Newcastle, for the first Hobart Class AWD, September 2012

Massive blocks that will eventually become the living space for junior sailors and the storage area for combat systems equipment on board Australia’s first AWD have been transported to Adelaide’s ASC Shipyard.

As part of one of the largest Defence projects ever undertaken, Australian industry company, Forgacs in Newcastle, has fabricated and shipped its first three blocks to where the AWD is being assembled.

On 14 September the three blocks, collectively weighing a little over 230 tonnes, left Forgacs’ Tomago Shipyard for Adelaide. Six members of the Forgacs team worked for three days to load and secure the block modules – that are as big as houses – to the aptly named Hobart barge. Once the blocks were secured, the barge was pulled out to sea via the North Arm of the Hunter River into Newcastle Harbour and then transferred to a single ocean going tug. Travelling at an average speed of six knots the three blocks arrived safely at their South Australian destination on 22 September.

Forgacs is constructing 44 blocks for the AWD project including 14 blocks for the first destroyer. The remaining blocks being built by Forgacs will arrive in Adelaide over the next 12 months. 

The Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare, has been impressed with both the quality and timeliness of Forgacs’ work on the project.

“Forgacs is building around half the blocks on these ships,” he said.

“They are doing outstanding work on some of the most advanced warships in the world.”

Keeping it in the family

As Forgacs Group General Manger, Tony Lobb, talks about the future opportunities for his company in the Defence sector, you can’t help but be drawn into the history, passion and excitement of the family-owned company and what it has achieved.

According to Tony, Forgacs is focussed on delivering the best possible project outcomes.

“Teamwork, open and honest communication, integrity, safety and outstanding customer service are instrumental to our growth, the development of our people and the success of our customers,” he said.

“Forgacs prides itself on continually improving its skills for the Royal Australian Navy with a firm record as an on-time, value for money contractor, delivering ever-better efficiencies.”

The vision of the late Stephen Forgacs, founder of the company, was to create opportunities for young people. This vision has seen the company invest heavily in the skills of its people. More than 10 per cent of the company workforce started with Forgacs on apprenticeships.

With over 1000 employees across seven locations up and down the east coast of Australia, Forgacs has been operating for over 40 years. Indirectly it stimulates 1500 jobs and the company estimates that 65 per cent of its business is Navy Defence – Ship Build and Repair and Berthing.

More information on the project is available on the AWD Alliance webpage.