SEA 1442 Phase 4: shock decision seems to be in favor of Selex.
Byline: Kym Bergmann / Canberra
The military communications world is abuzz with rumours that The Department
of Defence is about to award the communications upgrade of the RAN’s ANZAC
frigates to the relatively unknown Italian company Selex Elsag. The
Department has been even more secretive than usual about this project and
has refused to provide any information other than the briefest details of
what they are up to. Similarly, the Department – in an even more Orwellian
style than usual – has threatened to kick any company that speaks out of the
Well, despite their best efforts the rumour about Selex has been given a
great deal of credibility by people closely observing the process. The
decision – if confirmed – is an absolute slap in the face for Thales because
the company had successfully completed Phase 3 – and they had even received
a project management award for their efforts.
Selex Elsag is well credentialed in the field of maritime communications.
However, they do not have much of a footprint in Australia and to the best
of APDR’s knowledge have never previously won a major Defence contract here.
They have selected good local partners, such as CDM. Also during the evaluation phase it appears that
Thales to go back on a teaming agreement they had with BAE Systems, preferring to do the ship
installation work themselves.BAE Systems then joined the Selex
team, probably without the knowledge of Thales. The theory is that Elsag has
low-bid and the Department has gone down this path rather than the safer
option of sticking with Thales.
It is highly likely that Thales will mount a major lobbying effort to
overturn the decision. Watch this space.