An innovator, Austal's vessels embody the company's leadership in engineering and technological advancements.


Naval Architecture / Engineering Design

Through the acknowledged skills of its naval architects, Austal has designed and built high performance vessels for a variety of applications around the world.

Leading-edge technology is employed wherever this is proven cost-effective and acceptable to the customer. Austal continually seeks improvements in hull efficiency to provide an optimum balance between passenger comfort, speed and efficiency over the range of loading conditions and manoeuvrability.

Austal is committed to implementing research and development initiatives that will ensure the company stays at the forefront of the shipbuilding industry.

To support the production of the diverse portfolio of vessels, Austal is able to draw upon full in-house design team expertise covering all facets of design including naval architecture, marine and mechanical engineering, HVAC engineering, electrical design, interior design and drafting.


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Advanced Technology

Advanced computer design tools including Computational Fluid Dynamics, Seakeeping Analysis, three dimensional modelling and detailed Global Finite Element Analysis are in daily use.

Data is transferred electronically from the very start of the design process (hull surface generation) from complex three dimensional models used for resistance and hydrostatic calculations into structural analysis (finite element analysis when required) and onto definition of nesting arrangement prior to cutting thereby preserving accuracy in design, minimising wastage and reducing lead time.

Austal pioneered the use of a bulbous-bow, rounded-bilge hull catamaran form developed by means of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and extensive model testing to such an extent that it has been described by a leading international hydrodynamics facility as providing the best sea-keeping and lowest resistance in the catamaran market.


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Trimaran Technology

Perhaps the single greatest technological advancement in Austal 's history is the development of the trimaran hullform which effectively decouples vessel length from capacity and permits the marriage of a cost effective, revenue-earning platform with a longer hull form that offers superior seakeeping in a range of conditions.

The trimaran has been the subject of intensive tank test investigations into the motion of the vessel in a range of wave spectra. The acceleration data obtained from these tests is used, in conjunction with Austal's simulation and CFD software to simulate and provide accurate predictions of the vessel's performance in any given sea area and operating condition.

These predictions provide an operator with information about how the vessel will perform in service, in terms of pitch, roll, slamming and passenger comfort. Predictions of roll angle, lateral acceleration and motion sickness incidence (MSI) can be provided.

The tank testing and simulation conducted shows, in a wide range of wave conditions, that the trimaran hull form out performs catamarans and monohulls due to its ability to provide low transverse and vertical accelerations. The main reason for this is that the slender main hull of the trimaran is much longer and more slender than the hull of an equivalent displacement monohull or the combined hulls of a catamaran. Therefore vertical motions are reduced. In addition the superstructure is positioned further aft on a trimaran also resulting in smaller vertical motions.

The significantly lower metacentric height of a trimaran, which actually compares favourably with that of a conventional displacement monohull, produces lower roll accelerations, also reducing motion sickness.

Additional Resources:

Austal Trimaran Technology Brochure

Jane's Trimaran Technology Capability Liftout

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Structural Design

With an intrinsic understanding of aluminum and an ability to utilise the properties of the material to the full, Austal is at the cutting edge of aluminum structural design.

The desire to optimise vessel strength for minimum weight, particularly important for the large high speed platforms, led to the development of Austal's own highly specialised in-house Finite Element Structural Analysis procedures.

Required by the classification societies for verification of the "global" strength, few companies have developed these analytical tools to the same extent. Design optimisation in machinery and jet compartments to minimise noise and vibration....dry exhaust designs on larger vessels....hoistable vehicle ramps, bow and stern vehicle ramps with bi-folding ramp options....optimised extrusion designs in the wet deck, vehicle decks, ship side and passenger decks....the use of laser welded and composite aluminium structural panels....just some of the many innovations that highlight Austal's dedication to meeting customer needs and continually advancing its vessels.

Additional Resources:

Information about the use of aluminum in naval applications: Aluminum - Hull Structure in Naval Applications


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SeaState - Motion Control and Evaluation

To understand and develop improved seakeeping through enhanced computer controlled motion reduction, Austal led the development of its own motion control system, known as SeaState, in the early 1990s. Austal first developed and implemented the interceptor, and the system now also incorporates sophisticated primary and auxiliary steering systems.

Using sophisticated computer-based modelling systems Austal is able to offer detailed evaluations of seakeeping performance. These tools are used in the development of hullforms with motion characteristics that will suit the intended operation.




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MarineLink - Ship Monitoring and Control Network

The development of Austal's very own ship monitoring and control network, MarineLink, which allows extensive monitoring of machinery and systems throughout the vessels as required by class, is yet another example of Austal's technological leadership.

Not only does this innovative product provide superior safety management, it also provides the customer with the flexibility to tailor the system to meet their needs, overcoming limitations inherent in proprietary third party systems. Whilst the main function of MarineLink is control and monitoring, it also has a powerful on-line documentation system to manage all user manuals and even the vessel's electrical drawings and documentation.




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Software in Use

Software Package Use
Ship Constructor 3D modelling for production
Strand7 Finite Element Analysis
MaxSurf Surface modelling
HydroMax Hydrostatics
Workshop Structural Design
Hull Speed Hull Resistance
StarCD Computational fluid dynamics
Comet Computational fluid dynamics
Shipflow Computational fluid dynamics
SWAN Wave wash prediction
AutoCAD Drawing
MathCAD Formulas
Pipenet Pipe flow calculations
Ansys Finite Element Analysis
Pytha Furniture Construction Package
CitectSCADA Basis for MarineLink

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