Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR Dec15/Jan16 Contents Asia Pacific Defence Reporter DEC-JAN 2016 51
projects the ministry had been forced to work hard
to increase the confidence of the Cabinet and the
“Such trust is extremely brittle. The ministry is
perceived to be only as good as its last business
case or its newest piece of kit in the field.”
A separate, as yet unreleased consultants’ report,
which highlighted the issues and risks, prompted
the ministry to put its case to Government for a
significant funding increase.
Quilter said an extra 30 new positions were
being created in the acquisition division and another
five staff were being employed in the capability
development area. The acquisition division was also
being restructured and new deputy and assistant
defence secretaries were about to be appointed.
Four new programme director roles had also been
created for maritime, land, air and C4ISR domains.
Specialist would also be appointed in procurement,
contract, risk and industry engagement.
The aim was to develop a fully integrated capability
management system that would be an international
exemplar for small countries with small military
New Zealand was already doing a good job
in some areas but there was always room for
improvement and “one area we are dedicated to
improving is our relationship with industry.”
There was a critical inter-dependence between
defence and its commercial and industry partners.
“Our partnership with industry can only become
more successful as we work together to enhance
New Zealand’s security.
Quilter paid tribute to deputy secretary
(acquisitions) Des Ashton and assistant secretary
Kevin McMahon who are both being stood down in
She praised Ashton for his role in salvaging the
C-130 upgrade programme following the collapse
of its North American prime contractor Spar
Aerospace in Canada and the withdrawal of its local
partner Safe Air.
When that project collapsed the ministry was left
with unfinished aircraft and Ashton came up with a
plan for the ministry to set up its own workforce at
Woodbourne Air Force Base, near Blenheim, to take
over the project. This included resolving software
problems to complete work on the first two aircraft
and the complete refurbishment of the last three.
Work is expected to be finished on the last C-130
early next year. This aircraft, which was in worse
condition than the others, required some 200,000
man-hours to fix. The total project, stretching over a
decade, ran to $272 million.
“The relationships and knowledge that Des had,
got this audacious plan off the ground and to this
day I don’t know how you persuaded Treasury to
support this plan. So what was a potential disaster
has seen an extended life for the C-130s and it
hasn’t been easy.”
Quilter said McMahon was involved in many of
New Zealand’s major acquisition projects over the
past 25 years include the ANZAC ship project, the
purchase of NH90 and A109 helicopters and the
C-130 and Orion upgrades.
Ashton, who is expected to continue working for
the ministry till the middle of next year, briefed the
conference on current major projects.
Project Protector, the $500 million acquisition
of the multi-role vessel HMNZS Canterbury, two
offshore patrol ships and five inshore patrol vessels
was now pretty well finished with the completion
of $60 million worth of modifications to remediate
capability shortfalls. These included replacing the
originally supplied RHIBs and enclosing the RHIB
alcoves on Canterbury because they were exposed
and liable to be washed out in heavy seas.
Modifications were also required to the ship’s
landing craft. The remediation project is expected
to be completed next year when ballasting work
is done on the ship. Ashton said Canterbury had
ended up as a very good platform for the Navy.
The $87 million platform system upgrade of the
two ANZAC class frigates Te Kaha and Te Mana was
now nearly complete. This was about to be followed
by the $440 million frigate system upgrade to be
carried out by Lockheed Martin Canada.
Evaluation of tenders for the Maritime Sustainment
Capability project, a new ship to replace the tanker
HMNZS Endeavour, was now in the final stages. Two
Korean bidders, both teamed with UK companies
were shortlisted for this project and Government
approval to award a contract would be sought next
The $352 million upgrade of the Air Force’s P-3K
Orions was now practically complete. The prime
contractor for this project was L-3 Communications
and work on the last five aircraft was competed by
SAFE Air in Blenheim.
Ashton said local industry capability had been vital
and he particularly mentioned the crucial part Beca
engineering had played in developing software.
The Air Force had recently taken delivery of its 11
new T-6 Texan II single engine training aircraft. The
$136 million contract, completed on time and within
budget, included the provision of two simulators and
a 20 year support package. The aircraft are based
at Ohakea and training courses are set to start in
The $771 million NH90 helicopter acquisition
project was close to completion. New Zealand
purchased nine of the aircraft (one for spares)
and they were delivered between 2011 and 2014.
Although they have already been in use, completion
of final configuration is now expected by the middle
of next year.
“Some software updates and some things are
not quite there yet. We share a few problems with
the international community on this but I must say
we’re probably doing better with the operation of
the aircraft than anyone else I know of,” said Ashton.
The training/light utility helicopter project was all
but complete. The $139 million project involved the
purchase of five Agusta-Westland helicopters, plus
one for spares and a simulator. One issue still being
worked on was the installation of cockpit armour.
The former Australian fleet of ten Kaman SH2G(I)
Super Seasprite maritime helicopters had now been
delivered and will replace older Seasprites which
have been sold to Peru.
Ashton said it was a joy to be able to buy these
helicopters after the great contribution made in
Australia to develop a very fine capability. The $240
million project included spares, software, simulators
and Penguin missiles.
“There is a certain amount of risk in this thing,
plainly, but we have now delivered all 10 helicopters
(including two spares) and commissioned the
The medium-heavy operational vehicle project
was all but complete. This $106 million project
involved the purchase of 200 Rheinmetall MAN
trucks purchased as part of a large order placed
by the UK.
Work was now moving ahead on the Network
Enabled Army project. The first tranche of the
$106 million project would provide modern
communications to Special Operational Forces
and an Infantry Task Group and its headquarters.
Requests for proposals are about to be issued.
Government had also approved the first phase of
The current acquisition programme was running at over $3 billion
but over the next 15 years it would be responsible for managing
some $11 billion in major capital projects
3/12/2015 6:41 pm
Links Archive APDR November 2015 APDR February 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page