Aussie pump company scores SKorea defence contract

Defence contractor Australian Pump Industries has won a contract to supply a small batch of salvage pumps to the Republic of Korea Navy.

Warwick Lorenz

Under the contract it will supply the ROKN with portable salvage pumps, which are designed for use by rescue boats to pump water out of sinking ships, and can also double up as fire hoses.

Aussie Pumps supplies products to the Royal Australian Navy and runs a repair station for pumps used on DDG vessels, ANZACs and Collins Class Submarines. It is also negotiating contracts for the new OPV vessels.

Its saltwater Sea Master pump is being used around the world including by the French, Indian and Bangladesh navies, and the high-pressure Sea Skipper, designed for salvage and firefighting at sea, was released last year.

The new salvage pump is the latest development in the company’s seawater pump portfolio, managing director Warwick Lorenz says.

“It isn’t easy to come up with a seawater pump,” he said. “We had to do a lot of work on it and prototype, and the ROKN is very, very fastidious. They know what they want and you have to fulfil their specification precisely,” Mr Lorenz told Government News.

Particular challenges

The contract followed months of trial and error but the pumps recently passed testing at the Korea’s Busan Naval Base and the first eight pumps have been certified for shipment.

Chief Engineer John Hales said the ROKN specifications posed particular challenges, including the requirement for a high-speed pump that could suck up water from as high as seven metres, and cope with solid material like sand and rags.

“The specification was different to anything that the Royal Australian Navy had asked us for in the past,” Mr Hales said.

“We found that we could configure as self-priming salvage pump that would deliver in excess of 1,000 litres per minute and handle solids in suspension where required.

“The solid handling issue was a big one, as well as the ability to self prime through a vertical lift of seven metres or more.

The company worked with the ROKN on development specification.

Mr Lorenz said he was proud that the company, which employs fewer than 50 people, had scored the contract with Korea and he hoped to see more orders as the pumps were tested in the field.

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