World leading marine robots showcase the future in Indo Pacific defence: ECA Group, one of the world’s leading designers of innovative marine robotics and autonomous systems, will be a feature attraction at the Indo Pacific 2022 Maritime Industry Expo in Sydney this week (May 10-12). The company’s expert team will highlight how ECA Group’s fleet of sea proven robotic autonomous systems can give the Royal Australian Navy immediate access to world leading capability in maritime Mine Counter Measures (MCM) and Military Survey. The privately-owned ECA Group has been a trusted name in defence technology for almost 90 years and a market leader in the specialist maritime domain for more than half a century. It also operates in civil aerospace, and provides training simulators. The company’s advanced mine warfare systems are in operational service with 30 international navies. The fleet includes advanced autonomous surface and subsea robotic systems designed and sea proven in the most demanding military situations.Integrated with airborne drones, the company’s robots significantly enhance the speed and accuracy of mine clearance, without ships and crew needing to venture into the high-risk danger zone.As a shortlisted contender for the Royal Australian Navy’s SEA 1905 program, ECA Group will offer its operationally proven solutions to help fast track Australia’s sovereign capability in the Indo Pacific, demonstrating the company’s commitment to long-term operations in Australia and significantly enhancing Australian Industry Capability and technology access.ECA Group CEO Dominique Giannoni said the use of robotic autonomous systems was proving to be a game-changer for navies, highlighting ECA Group’s successful experience with the Belgian and Dutch Mine Counter Measures program, the world’s most advanced solution for MCM, and Oceanographic Institutes for ultra-deep water systems up to 6,000m. “We are here to introduce to Australia’s decision-makers how ECA Group and its local partners, industry and academia, will offer a world class solution for mine warfare and military survey to the Royal Australian Navy,” said SEA 1905 Capture Leader Romain Dumont. “Our sea proven solution replaces the need to send manned vessels into a minefield. ECA Group’s stand-off systems have been specifically designed and optimised to be deployed from motherships or crafts of opportunity outside the minefield or directly from the shore, successfully conducting missions at sea while keeping crews safe and out of the minefield.

Thales Australia and Ocius advance autonomous threat detection and surveillance: Thales Australia and Ocius Technologies have entered a Teaming Agreement to advance the development and deployment of a scalable Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) capability equipped for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and surveillance missions – helping to protect Australia’s borders. The Australian designed and manufactured Blue Sentry autonomous system, comprising a team of Ocius Bluebottle USVs integrated with Thales Australia’s new thin line Fibre Optic Towed Array capability, are deployed from shore to autonomously patrol large areas of Australia’s coastline, performing underwater ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) missions for long periods of time at sea, and in extreme weather conditions. Missions that would have previously required the deployment of peopled assets for many days to complete will be able to be conducted remotely using the Blue Sentry team of Autonomous Vessels at a significantly reduced cost of coverage. Benefitting from more than 35 years of investment in sovereign towed array innovation in Australia by Thales, the Royal Australian Navy and DST Group, traditional Towed Array capability was first deployed on the Collins Class Submarine to enable advanced threat detection and classification at sea. In both form and function, Thales’s sovereign thin line Fibre Optic Towed Array is a miniaturised version of a submarine Fibre Optic Towed Array, enabling autonomous detection, classification and localisation of craft on the surface or below the water that generate acoustic noise or produce acoustic reflections. The Blue Sentry system’s autonomous detection capabilities also enable covert communication to allies below the surface using long-range low frequency underwater communications. The newly developed thin line Towed Array is designed, developed and manufactured at Thales Australia’s Acoustics Centre of Excellence at Rydalmere in New South Wales. Thales has been working collaboratively with Ocius since 2013 on the role of the USV in ASW – the Bluebottle is a standout USV platform for long-term maritime mission endurance.

Hunter Class Frigate-joint-labAustralian industry wins with first batch frigate contract: Businesses around Australia will manufacture, assemble and supply thousands of valves for the first batch of three Hunter class frigates. BAE Systems Australia has contracted Score Australasia to supply and test valves for the first three anti-submarine warfare frigates, which will play a crucial role protecting Australians and Australia’s interests for decades to come. Working with the global independent valve company and the Commonwealth, the Company has secured a commitment from Score that a significant amount of value ($26m) and contracts will flow through the Australian supply chain. Significant engagement and market analysis was undertaken to ensure a value for money outcome was achieved that maximised benefits for Australian industry, including building the capability to support continuous naval shipbuilding for future defence projects. Twelve companies from five States will be subcontracted by Score to part manufacture, supply and assemble more than 300 different types of wholeship valves. BAE Systems Australia CEO, Ben Hudson said: “We are committed to maximising opportunities for Australian businesses and thus creating Australian jobs, so we’re delighted a significant portion of valve assembly and testing will be done in Australia, by Australians. Securing such a significant portion of the valves scope for Australian companies is testament to our teams’ collaboration with industry and the Commonwealth. As the Hunter program matures towards the second batch of Hunter class frigates, there will be opportunities for other Australian businesses to join the valves supply chain. Growing Australian industry capability is essential to ensure we support Australia’s continuous naval shipbuilding strategy for future generations.” There are 305 types of valves in each Hunter class frigate, and 5,273 valves per ship. The largest valves are upwards of 400mm bore size, while the smallest is 5mm. Valves are spread throughout the warship in the many different subsystems.

South Australian contingent to attend this year’s Indo Pacific 2022: South Australia’s defence industry has answered the call to showcase the best of what the state has to offer at this month’s international maritime exhibition Indo Pacific 2022. The South Australia – The Defence State stand will host its largest contingent ever, with 20 companies presenting displays and a further 30 on board as roving exhibitors. The South Australian defence research and education sector will also be strongly represented, with TAFE SA and the three universities, The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia, having a presence on the stand, along with the Defence Innovation Partnership. Chief Executive Richard Price said Defence SA received expressions of interest from more than 60 companies to attend this year’s event, a clear indication of the state’s capability and readiness for upcoming complex naval shipbuilding programs. “South Australia is the Defence State and national centre for major surface combatant and submarine continuous build programs, as well as emerging maritime defence technologies,” Price said. “South Australia’s defence industry has been winning and delivering the nation’s most complex and dynamic defence projects for more than 20 years. With more than $50 billion in maritime projects due to occur in South Australia, our defence industry is primed and ready to play a crucial role in bringing these projects to life. Indo Pacific is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the cutting-edge capabilities and expertise of the South Australian defence sector and for local industry to connect with world-class defence suppliers in the global supply chain for current and upcoming naval shipbuilding and defence projects.” APC Technology is one of the companies whose expertise will be showcased on The Defence State stand, returning for the seventh time. Managing Director Scott Begbie said the company is eager to reconnect with primes, SMEs and defence personnel, and learn how to best support Defence in a post-pandemic future. “Pacific is an ideal platform to promote our capabilities and how we can help overcome the significant issue of lagging offshore supply chains,” Begbie said. “Creating global partnerships is a key strategy we are fully committed to and continue to pursue. In 2022, we already have plans in place to grow our strategic alliances in the UK with existing and new partnerships.”

Australia announces acquisition of KONGSBERG Naval Strike Missile: Last month, the Morrison Government announced the accelerated acquisition of the KONGSBERG Naval Strike Missile (NSM) to replace Harpoon on the ANZAC Class Frigates and HOBART Class Destroyers, providing a significant increase in strike capability for these Royal Australian Navy (RAN) platforms. With a size and weight that is easily integrated to the relevant ship classes, the NSM is a fifth-generation anti-ship missile (ASM) that can be used for both maritime strike and land attack. Offering operational flexibility and survivability with proven precision and lethality, the KONGSBERG NSM has an unclassified range of 250km. NSM can be ship, vehicle and helicopter launched, providing flexibility for multi-domain employment. KONGSBERG, the NSM Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), is delighted that Australia has become the latest customer to acquire NSM. Mr Øyvind Kolset, Executive Vice President Missile Division in Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, stated “We are very proud that Australia has chosen the NSM, joining a growing community of users comprising key allies and partners, including the United States. This is also a fantastic opportunity for Australia and Norway to continue to build on the long history of partnership that has existed since the delivery of the KONGSBERG Penguin Anti-Ship Missile, nearly three decades ago.” said Kolset. John Fry, General Manager of Kongsberg Defence Australia, confirmed his team is very pleased this proven and modern weapon was selected to meet RAN’s requirements. “We welcome the announcement by the Australian Government to acquire the KONGSBERG NSM. Specifically designed to operate in complex and contested environments, NSM provides an exceptional deterrence value which is key to Australia’s ability to influence operations in the region. In partnership with our Norwegian colleagues, we are committed to working with the customer to equip the ANZAC Class Frigates and HOBART Class Destroyers with this world-class strike capability by 2024.” Fry said. Australia will join the Norwegian, United States, Canadian, German and Malaysian Navies who are operating, or have selected NSM, for deployment on surface vessels. The Polish and Romanian Navies, along with the United States Marine Corps (USMC), have or are currently fielding, the NSM for vehicle mounted coastal defence.

Serco and Civmec pursue shared LAND 8710 vision: Combining innovation and excellence, Serco Australia and Civmec have come together to pursue their shared vision to deliver the next-generation in assured amphibious capabilities for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) under a new Joint Venture (JV) company, the Australian Maritime Alliance (AMA). Civmec and Serco are leading an Australia-wide team in solution development and industrial mobilisation in pursuit of the LAND 8710 Phase 1A program. Over the past year, the design of the new ‘Oboe’ Littoral Manoeuvre Vessel Medium (LMV-M) has been optimised and refined to meet the needs of the ADF and now represents the next generation in amphibious capability. Serco Defence Managing Director Clint Thomas AM, CSC, said the alliance demonstrates the importance of delivering local industry resilience, facilitating workforce and workload predictability, and providing assured supply chain access to build a trusted and sustained Australian shipbuilding sector. “Serco and Civmec share a vision to provide the crucial leadership that the Australian shipbuilding sector requires, signalling an industry-led strategic approach to deliver and support essential sovereign military capabilities and sustainable workshare outcomes,” Thomas said. As an internationally recognised shipbuilder, Serco brings fresh perspectives and a proven stable of innovative ship designs. Over the last 20 years Serco Australia’s Program Managers, Naval Architects and Engineering Specialists have supported Naval and Commonwealth maritime operations around Australia, with a proven local Supply Chain Team and demonstrated ability to support the Army in a true partnership. During this time Serco has delivered 130 vessels into Commonwealth service and trained many thousands of Bridge watchkeepers and Seaboat crew for the Royal Australian Navy. Civmec are a leading integrated, multi-disciplinary construction and engineering services provider to the Marine & Defence, Oil & Gas, Metal & Minerals, and Infrastructure sectors, headquartered in Henderson, Western Australia. Civmec have heavily invested in building Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding and sustainment capability through the construction of a new shipbuilding and sustainment hall. The mega-structure stands 18 storeys (70 metres) high and contains 20 overhead travelling cranes with a 400t lift capacity in the central hall.

Navantia Australia and University of Technology Sydney partner on digital tech: Australia’s capabilities in digital technologies for the maritime industry are set to be boosted with the establishment of a Joint Institute by Navantia Australia and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), announced by both organisations. The Joint Institute is part of UTS and will promote academic and future workforce engagement in commercial projects with Navantia Australia. Internships, PhD and graduate employment opportunities will also be offered to UTS students, increasing opportunities within the Australian Defence Industry labour market. Navantia Australia’s Managing Director Israel Lozano said: “We are excited to be partnering with UTS. The alignment with core pillars of both UTS and Navantia Australia strategy means that there is a natural synergy for both organisations. The research and development focus of the Institute will bring together UTS and Navantia Australia’s research expertise, as well as engineering and IT solutions development capability, to provide an innovative approach that will deliver impact for Australia.” The Institute will promote activities that will provide world-class and commercially relevant research and development (R&D) outcomes and intellectual property to Navantia Australia.  It will involve building relationships with the Australian Defence sector, Navantia Australia’s commercial partners (e.g. Australian suppliers) and securing research grants. Digital technology for the naval industry will be showcased at UTS’s Ultimo campus, in the heart of Sydney’s innovation precinct, Tech Central, in a visitor space. Navantia Australia R&D has pledged to initially fund the Institute, with future funding expected from commercial projects involving Navantia Australia, Defence and relevant Australian government grants. The Institute will be governed through a Steering Committee and under the direction of a salaried Director.

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