PORT Macquarie-based marine engineering firm Birdon announced it had won two contracts with the US Army and the US Coast Guard, collectively worth $575m.

Birdon CEO Jamie Bruce said the contracts would be overseen from the company’s headquarters in Port Macquarie.

“Birdon is now a global business with enduring roots in the Hastings region,” he said.

“As we have grown we’ve had to bolster our staffing and capability in Port Macquarie and that’s good for the local economy.”

In one contract, valued at $281m, Birdon America was appointed to carry out an upgrade of the US Coast Guard fleet of 47-foot motor lifeboat vessels (MLBs).

In the second contract, worth up to $294m, Birdon America secured a five-year extension to its existing contract to supply bridge erection boats (BEBs) to the US Army. Birdon won the tender to supply the BEBs in 2014.

Under its service life extension program, the US Coast Guard appointed Birdon America to deliver a redesign and upgrade of its fleet of 107 MLBs, which is reaching the end of its original 25-year service life.

The contract is for ten years under a five plus five arrangement. The work will be led from Birdon America’s headquarters in Denver, Colorado, and carried out in shipyards in Oregon and Virginia.

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Under the extension to the US Army contract, Birdon America will build and deliver a further 247 BEBs, resulting in a total of 435 BEBs to field locations in the US, Germany, Korea, Kuwait and Puerto Rico.

Birdon America is to expand its production facilities by more than 40% and staffing by an estimated 25% to accommodate the increased demand.

BEBs are used to build temporary floating bridges when existing bridge crossings have been destroyed in war.

They can also be used in a ferry configuration to transport equipment supplies and troops, to tow other BEBs and vessels, and in emergency relief missions.

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