Defence Minister Christopher Pyne has announced a limited request for tender to establish a deed of standing offer for the provision of Aegis combat system integration support for up to six years.
Defence Connect can confirm that Raytheon Australia has been selected by Defence to act as its Australian Aegis systems integration agent. Minister Pyne confirmed that the Aegis system, battle-proven through its use with the US Navy and the Royal Australian Navy's Hobart Class destroyers, will also be fitted to the Hunter Class frigates.
"Raytheon Australia will provide Defence with their demonstrated expertise for the successful implementation, evolution and continuous development of Aegis combat systems in our current and future surface combatants," Minister Pyne said.
Centred around the AN/SPY-1 radar, Aegis is a fully integrated combat system, providing full 360 degree, 3D tracking capacity, Aegis is capable of simultaneously defending against attack from land targets, submarines and surface ships while automatically protecting the fleet against aircraft cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
This integrated combat system serves to establish Aegis as a central component of the Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) providing robust anti-air warfare (AAW) capabilities, with ballistic missile defence (BMD) capabilities. Aegis is currently on its ninth baseline (BL9) has continually improved and added new capabilities to meet new threats, executed new missions and integrated technology.
"Selecting Raytheon Australia for this limited tender will provide workforce continuity and allow Defence to leverage from their recent Aegis experience gained as the combat system integrator role for the Hobart Class destroyers," Minister Pyne added.
Australia's first Aegis capable warships, the Hobart Class guided missile destroyers have paved the way for the system to be integrated into the Royal Australian Navy, with Aegis announced as the combat system for the Hunter Class guided missile frigates in conjunction with the Australian designed CEAFAR phased array radar system and a uniquely Australian interface supplied by Saab Australia.
Raytheon Australia managing director Michael Ward said, "This decision represents the next important step in the government's enterprise approach to naval combat systems management. It is also a strong affirmation that the Raytheon Australia capability, forged through more than 10 million hours of complex combat system design and integration, has become a sovereign capability and a national asset."
Raytheon Australia successfully conducted the combat system integration for the Hobart Class vessels, with the third and final vessel, NUSHIP Sydney, currently 95 per cent complete ahead of schedule at the ASC Shipyards in Osborne.
"Systems integration is more than what we do in Australia. It characterises who we are. It represents the contribution Raytheon Australia makes to our local defence industry and it defines the partnership role we seek to perform for Defence into the future," Ward explained.
"This is an important step forward in realising the government’s new approach to Naval Combat Systems management," Minister Pyne added, the standing offer should be in effect by mid-2019, subject to successful negotiations.
The $35 billion SEA 5000 Hunter Class frigate program will see Australia's eight Anzac Class frigates replaced with nine Hunter Class vessels, to be built by BAE Systems at Osborne Shipyard in South Australia from 2020, the project is expected to create 4,000 jobs.
In October, BAE Systems Australia announced that it had signed an advanced work arrangement (AWA) with the Australian government for the Hunter Class frigate program. The AWA allows BAE Systems to continue to mobilise the program, including maturing design and engineering plans, establishing a skilled workforce and setting up the required infrastructure necessary to commence prototyping in 2020.