Steber International’s latest build for the Federal Government will greatly assist the development of Australia’s future uninhabited surface and sub-surface vehicles.

The Steber 40 (40ft) will be the 21st vessel built by Steber’s for the Australian Department of Defence.

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.

A DSTG spokesperson said: “A key component of this research involves the use of uninhabited underwater and surface vehicles”.

“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.

“For many years Defcence has operated Stebercraft vessels around the country. 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”.

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.

Project Manager, Colin Steber said: “The awarding of this latest contract is timely for not only ourselves, but Taree and regional NSW in general as it provides ongoing employment for hard-hit manufacturing industries in these troubled times”.

“We have been manufacturing ‘serve and protect’ vessels for various Federal and State government departments for over 40 years.

“During this time we have built over 80 such boats, of varying lengths, and all customised to meet specific client needs.

“Steber-built Marine Rescue vessels are patrolling the east coast of Australia from Mackay in North Queensland, down the NSW coastline and around 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”.

PHOTO: Project Manager, Colin Steber; Supply Chain Controlled, Finn Stricker; Development Engineer/Research Officer, Steve Hunt and Production Controller, Mark Facer review the General Arrangement of the Steber 40 under construction at the company’s Taree factory.