Steber International's latest build for the Federal Government comes at in important time, providing ongoing employment for hard-hit manufacturing industries in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Steber 40 (40ft), under construction at Steber's Taree factory, will be the 21st vessel built by Steber's for the Australian Department of Defence and will greatly assist the development of Australia's future uninhabited surface and sub-surface vehicles.
The Department of Defence's Science and Technology Group (DSTG) conducts research in a number of areas including support for the RAN's mine countermeasures programs.
"For many years Defence has operated Stebercraft vessels around the country,'' a DSTG spokesperson explained. "The Steber 40 retains the tried and proven Steber hull in a highly customised form suited to scientific research and hydrography.
"In bringing this vessel to fruition, Defence has worked closely with Stebercraft to lever off their expertise to develop what we hope will be a truly world class research facility.
"A key component of the DSTG research involves the use of uninhabited underwater and surface vehicles," a DSTG spokesperson said.
"The Steber 40 will act as a versatile coastal trials platform and provide DSTG with a uniquely Australian testbed to evaluate a wide range of robotic concepts."
The Steber 40, due for delivery later this year, will be powered by twin Cummins 480hp diesel engines and will feature a comprehensive electronics package and specialised hydraulics.
It will be capable of carrying up to 10 passengers and overnight accommodation for two.
We have been manufacturing 'serve and protect' vessels for various Federal and state government departments for more than 40 years.Project manager Colin Steber
"The awarding of this latest contract is timely for not only ourselves, but Taree and regional NSW in general as its provides ongoing employment for hard-hit manufacturing industries in these troubled times," project manager, Colin Steber said.
"We have been manufacturing 'serve and protect' vessels for various federal and state government departments for more than 40 years.
"During this time we have built more than 80 such boats, of varying lengths, and all customised to meet specific client needs," Colin said.
"Steber-built Marine Rescue vessels are patrolling the east coast of Australia from Mackay in North Queensland, down the NSW coastline and round to Port Fairy, Victoria near the South Australian border.
"In addition, we have custom-built vessels for NSW and Victorian Water Police, Australian Federal Police, Australian Customs, Fisheries (NSW and NT) and Parks and Wildlife (Townsville) as well as many exported commercial vessels."