Navy veterans expand Whiskey Project watercraft business

The Whiskey Project Group announced yesterday that it had acquired boat manufacturer Yamba Welding & Engineering (YWE) and maritime design company Naiad.

FILE PHOTO: A Whiskey Alpha 85 (right) and two Marine NSW boats designed by Naiads and built by YWE. Photo copyright Salty Dingo.

A spokesman for the group said the acquisition was a strategic move that would herald a new era of sovereign design and industrial capability for military and specialist watercraft.

Through these strategic acquisitions The Whiskey Project Group will invest in the wider Australian defence industry eco-system during the COVID-19 crisis and embody the Commonwealth’s vision of a robust, resilient and self-reliant sovereign manufacturing industry.

The acquisition further responds to Federal- and State-government calls for Australian industry to support sovereign ship-building capability and sustain domestic supply chains.

Contracts were announced yesterday, with transaction completion scheduled for Q4 2020.

The Whiskey Project Group’s founders launched their Next Generation Tactical Watercraft to industry acclaim at Pacific 2019 with Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price and the NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres.

Now, with YWE’s 40 years of watercraft manufacturing experience and Naiad’s globally renowned naval architecture expertise, The Whiskey Project Group will be able to support the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and  2020 Force Structure Plan with their comprehensive range of watercraft.

From Naiad and YWE’s proven range of commissioned vessels, to the new-technology Whiskey Alpha and Whiskey Bravo watercraft, The Whiskey Project Group offers Australia a significant capability advantage with an end-to-end sovereign solution for Defence and maritime security watercraft.

In the past 10 years YWE have built more than 200 vessels for Australian Federal- and State-government agencies, including the Australian Defence Force, Australian Border Force and maritime security agencies – while Naiad, whose designs are built under license around the world, are popular for a wide range of Federal- and State-government military, law-enforcement and rescue-agency vessels, as well as commercial, tourism, recreational and superyacht tender applications.

As The Whiskey Project Group, this expanded family of watercraft will offer their Federal and State Government partners the industrial assurance and efficiencies of dealing with one sovereign provider, one supply chain of over 50 Australian SMEs and 100% design authority.

Through collaborations with the Centre for Defence Industry Capability and the Defence Export Office, The Whiskey Project Group is also looking to forge global Defence export partnerships, creating further sovereign industrial manufacturing capability.

Co-founder and Managing Director of The Whiskey Project Group Darren Schuback said they were looking forward to driving an integrated business growth strategy that incorporates expanding Naiad’s licensee footprint across regional Australia, growing YWE’s domestic industrial manufacturing capability and future-proofing the integrity of Australian innovations and leading-edge technologies through The Whiskey Project watercraft.

“In addition to the commercial, recreational and tourism markets that the Naiad business will now expose us to, the acquisition creates enormous potential for the Australian Defence industry,” Schuback said.

“Through these business acquisitions The Whiskey Project Group range of watercraft will offer 100% design authority across our portfolio, future-proofing our ability to integrate new and emerging technologies and provide other customized and niche watercraft solutions.

“This will safeguard Australian industry capability and innovation while greatly enhancing our Federal and State Government partners’ ability to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving future warfare environment.

“We will continue to build upon the strong and enduring Federal, State and trans-Tasman partnerships forged by YWE and Naiad.

“We are committed to securing local jobs, delivering outcomes and strengthening sovereign trade and defence ties in Australia, New Zealand and across the globe with our coalition partners.”

The Whiskey Project Group is a veteran-owned business with a workforce of more than 70, including 45 regional staff.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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