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those programmes for about five years and what
that has allowed us to do is to start early. This
means we have been working on identifying
and maturing solutions so that we are in a good
position to bid whenever the RFTs are released.
Q: BUT YOU HAVE BEEN CARRYING
THOSE COSTS FOR FIVE YEARS.
Certainly. There is a balance that needs to be
met when releasing RFTs. Defence could put
RFTs out on the street quickly and with little
engagement with industry – but that would lead
to immature solutions. On the other hand with
longer lead up times the eventual solution is
better developed – and that benefits everyone.
Q: REGARDING THE NAVAL SECTOR,
WHAT ARE YOU UP TO THERE?
The biggest single activity, of course, is for the Air
Warfare Destroyer. However over the next couple
of years, more broadly across the sector the
main activities relate to the development and
establishment of sustainment arrangements for
the AWDs and also the Landing Helicopter Docks.
It is easy to focus on big-ticket acquisitions
and the costs associated with those, but when
you look at support budgets over a twenty-year
period they are also very large sums of money
and they are big jobs.
In addition there is SEA 1000 – the future
submarine. We are still at an early stage in the
process and a lot of discussions are going to take
place about the way forward. During the next
five years a number of very important decisions
will have to be taken prior to the release of RFTs
and the award of contracts.
Q: FOR SEA 1000 WILL YOUR
INTEREST BE FOR THE COMBAT
SYSTEM, OR A BROADER
We are a mission systems integrator and when
we combine those skills with a platform house
such as we are doing on the Air Warfare
Destroyer – that works well and leads ultimately
to a good result for the Commonwealth. For the
future submarine there are some questions that
need to be considered, such as do you place a
traditional prime contractor on top, or have the
mission systems integrator in the lead – or do
you run the process as an alliance structure?
The debate about how the contract is going to be
structured is going to be extremely important.
Having said that, it is probably less significant if
Australia decides to buy an off the shelf product
– not that there are many of those that will meet
Australia’s requirements – but if we go down a
more developmental path then a lot of thought
is going to have to go into the topic.
The two most important considerations are
where on the spectrum ranging from off the
shelf to fully developmental we will want to
place ourselves – probably somewhere in the
middle - and secondly how the Commonwealth
will set up the contract to do that.
Reflecting on the AWD, one of the reasons why
that has worked so well to date is because of the
alliance structure. I do not believe we would be
in as good a position if the project had been set
up as a traditional prime contractor with many
subcontractors arrangement. Moving from the
design phase to the production meant that a
large number of adjustments had to be made
and that is much easier to achieve with an
alliance, rather than having to swap a myriad of
contracts between the parties.
Q: WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE
ALLIANCES USED MORE FREQUENTLY?
That comes back to a fundamental decision
about what it is you want to acquire and then
adopting the best contracting framework to
achieving that outcome. For example, for AIR
9000 Phase 7 a traditional prime contractor
approach is perfectly fine. However, for
something like LAND 400 an alliance approach
might be better suited because the end result
you want is likely to be an integrated land
environment with a number of different vehicle
Q: HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF
COMMUNICATIONS PROJECTS SUCH
AS JP 2072?
We are already part of that through the provision
of EPLRS and MicroLight radios and we are in
the process of delivering those right now. We are
also tendering for Phase 2B, for which we have
teamed with General Dynamics. For Raytheon
Australia this means we have a role integrating
many different COTS and MOTS products to
achieve the desired results.
Q: SO IS SYSTEMS INTEGRATION HOW
YOU SEE YOUR FUTURE?
Up until a decade ago, systems integration was
considered a very risky field. However, within
the company we decided to focus on developing
and growing the necessary skill sets in Australia
to be able to manage increasingly complex
integration tasks. So we have invested a lot in
people and processes over quite a length of time
using an approach of continuous improvement
and passing on lessons learned. Regarding
process improvement, quite recently we were
accredited to Continuous Maturity Model
Integration level 3 in all 20 process areas across
the entire company.
This is all part of us developing a robust
capability to be able to support system
integration and mission support tasks. Examples
include the completed Collins combat system
replacement project and the ongoing work on
the Air Warfare Destroyers. But we have also
undertaken a number of smaller contracts – for
good reason. If the company were set up only for
large scale Defence system integration contracts
the situation will be one of feast or famine, so we
prefer to balance that with the ability to take on
tasks of all sizes.
This is especially important when you
consider how many network centric projects
that need to be connected are either underway
or coming up. APDR
The Department has been going through a number of internal
changes and it always takes time for people to get used to new
We are a mission systems integrator and when we combine
those skills with a platform house – such as we are doing on the
Air Warfare Destroyer – that works well and leads ultimately to
a good result for the Commonwealth
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