The contract, valued at $4 million a year, will be provided by Serco Australia Defence. The initial contract is for five years with the possibility of two, five-year extensions.
Serco will conduct the work, in partnership with Rafael Australia, which will serve as a sub-contractor for direct and close maintenance, engineering and technical support. This is part of Rafael’s long-term commitment to Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities, specifically in the areas of precision weaponry and advanced electro-optical systems.
The company will be responsible for providing service support, maintenance and technical support to the Royal Australian Navy for key ship-mounted weapons stations and sensor sites, including:
- Mini-Typhoon Weapon Station: The Mini-Typhoon is a lightweight, naval, stabilised and remote operated machine gun system utilising the .50 calibre Browning Quick Change Barrel (QCB) heavy machine gun. The Mini-Typhoon provides perimeter protection for larger vessels.
- Typhoon Weapon Station: The Typhoon Mk 25 is a stabilised gun mount, designed to accommodate the 25mm marine Bushmaster gun and is mounted on the Adelaide, Armidale, Anzac and Canberra Class vessels.
- Toplite Electro-Optical Detection System: Designed by Rafael, Toplite is an electro-optical surveillance, observation and targeting day/night system for a wide range of flexible and demanding missions, from law enforcement observation through surveying and fire control to missile targeting. The search radar and the Toplite electro-optical (EO) pod enable detection, identification and targeting operations.
Serco will have two key subcontractors, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and manufacturer Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (formerly Orbital ATK). The agreement increases Serco’s global support for Naval platforms with Serco’s North American division already providing similar maintenance and logistics work for the US Navy.
Ido Spitzer, Rafael Australia general manager, said, "The partnership with Serco will mark yet another milestone in Rafael Australia’s co-operation and partnership with Australian supplier."
This deal also enhances Serco Australia’s long-term business strategy for delivering innovative technical service solutions for Australia’s defence needs. Serco’s scope of work includes full support and maintenance for the defence platforms including engineering management, strategic procurement and inventory management.
Serco Asia Pacific chief executive Mark Irwin welcomed the announcement, saying, "We are pleased to have the opportunity to support the Australian Defence Force. The ongoing collaboration between the RAN, Serco, Rafael and ATK provides outstanding service to our defence forces confirming the ongoing availability, reliability and sustainability of the platform across Australia."
"We look forward to this partnership with another Australian company, which will result in mutual benefit and, most of all, capability for the Royal Australian Navy. We are hopeful this partnership will bring about additional orders for these and other naval systems in 2019," Spitzer said.
Serco will service the weapons systems at four dedicated Serco workshops, which will be established at strategic ports around Australia with full support nationwide delivered by a team of specialist technicians and engineers. The capability for testing, compliance and assurance will be unique in Australia.
"I am also delighted that we can develop significant technical skills in Australia through this program that will grow the overall capability in the service of Naval vessels," Irwin explained.
Serco Asia Pacific has been operating for more than 20 years across Australia, New Zealand and China with a proven record in delivering the most demanding, complex and sensitive solutions for government clients.
Rafael develops and manufactures advanced defence systems for customers around the world. The company offers an array of innovative air, sea, land, space and cyber solutions at the leading edge of global technology. Rafael Australia is currently in the process of offering a range of products to the ADF, to be delivered through VRA Systems, its joint venture with Australian firm Varley Group.