Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR July-Aug 2017 Contents 50 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter JULY/AUG 2017
In addition to their Australian program centric support
to Australian Industry their Industry Development Unit
has helped Australian Suppliers win over $ 330 million
of work under contracts related to Raytheon Company
US activities, which benefits the sustainment and
growth of Australia’s sovereign capability.
At the end of 2016 Thales signed a design and
pre-production contract to upgrade Australia’s Collins
class submarine sonar systems, enhancing their
capability to outperform the most advanced under water
threats in an increasingly complex environment.
Thales will build on its local and international
expertise in sonar technologies to prepare for
upgrades to the submarines’ cylindrical array, flank
array, and on-board processing to maintain Royal
Australian Navy superiority in the region.
Chris Jenkins, CEO of Thales in Australia said:
“The Collins class sonars have proven very effective
over many years, and now we are preparing for the
upgrade to ensure they remain at the forefront of
The integration work will be carried out at
Thales’s underwater systems facility in Rydalmere,
Western Sydney. This critical work will support the
Commonwealth’s key decisions on the rollout program
of sonar and wider Collins Class upgrades, which will
be subject to final Government approval in 2018.
In an internationally collaborative program, the
Collins’ legacy cylindrical array will be replaced with
a Modular Cylindrical Array based on submarine
technology developed by Thales teams in the UK.
The existing flank array will be replaced by the latest
generation flank array from Thales teams in France.
Over 100 people across the company will be involved
in the project.
Thales will also work with local industry to deliver the
upgrades, for the six submarines integrating products
from other Australian providers including Sonartech
Atlas and L3 Oceania into the solution.
Thales, a 35% shareholder in global company Naval
Group, can expect its sonar and other systems to
feature in the design work currently being undertaken
for Australia’s Future Submarines.
The Warship Asset Management Agreement
(WAMA), which has BAE Systems Australia, SAAB
Australia, Naval Ship Management (itself a partnership
of UGL and Babcock) and the Commonwealth as
signatories, is valued at over $2 billion over eight
years. These long term partners have started delivering
cost effective sustainment solutions to ANZAC Class
Frigates, especially in the areas of improved capability
This is an excellent example of how the defence
industry can benefit from an increased certainty of
work promoting investment, enduring expectations
on all parties, and a manageable and predictable
level of effort that they can plan against and
For the Navy it means a single long-term partner
delivering maintenance, resulting in reduced costs
and effort associated with performance based
contracting, efficiency gains through process
improvement, improved material state of the ANZAC
frigates through iterative maintenance analysis and
effectiveness reviews, and improved notice to ships’
crews of the planned location of maintenance and
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
program announced (for more information see
‘Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Blueprint Finally
Released‘ APDR June 2017), a huge amount of
effort being expended by the competing groups to
understand the existing skills and capability base
within Australia’s defence industry. This is because
each submitted tender must contain an Australian
Industry Capability Plan showing how industry will
The plan to cut the first steel for OPVs in 2018
means the decision on the winning design will
be required very soon. The Preferred Tenderer
decision for the Future Frigate’s design prime
contractor will be made during 2018, in line with
the Government’s announced intention of cutting
the first steel in 2020. Several commentators
believe that it would be better to push this start
date back to 2022 to allow more time for maturing
the chosen design.
All in all, Australia’s defence industry is a vital
component in CASG achieving its acquisition plans
for the RAN fleet. The move to longer term support
contracts for Australia’s warships is to be applauded
for providing certainty and greater economies in
HMAS Waller leaves Diamantina Pier, HMAS Stirling, to take part in Exercise AUSINDEX 2017 off the west coast of Australia.. Credit: CoA / Richard Cordell
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