The maritime robotics and autonomous systems developer is leveraging its heritage in the mine countermeasure space to secure work for the Royal Australian Navy.
France-based ECA Group is bidding for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) SEA 1905 Tranche 1 - Maritime Mine Countermeasures Survey program, which is seeking an autonomous solution to be deployed from the Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).
The company has partnered with a number of local firms, including Western Australia-based Total Marine Technology (TMT).
The ECA-led team is competing against Saab Australia, which recently launched its bid alongside Leidos Australia, SeeByte and Sonartech Atlas.
In an interview with Defence Connect, ECA Group CEO Dominique Giannoni touted the company’s heritage in the mine countermeasure space, which he said extends across three generations of capability solutions.
He noted the company’s work with the RAN over several decades and its recent selection to support major projects in Europe.
“This is our commitment to Australia, to bring a sea-proven, fully-integrated system we’ve developed for the Belgian and Dutch navies and to work with Australian industry and academia to ‘evergreen’ and constantly evolve the system,” he said.
“ECA has worked with the RAN since 1986, we know what long-term commitment is.”
Giannoni also stressed the company’s commitment to supporting Australian Industry Capability (AIC) but added the offerings of prospective partners would need to translate to real value for the end user.
“We are glad companies are coming to us to team,” he said.
Subscribe to the Defence Connect daily newsletter.
Be the first to hear the latest developments in the defence industry.
“What’s key for us is to make sure that our teaming makes sense for the customer and brings value for the customer.
"We’ve been very impressed with the local industry and the local universities, and we are convinced we’ll find the right partners.”
If selected, ECA Group has stated it would deliver existing capability for batch one of the program, before exploring integration opportunities with local partners to enhance the platforms in line with evolving Navy requirements.
This could include incorporating “mature” research and development (R&D) solutions proposed by academic institutions.
A government decision on second pass approval for SEA 1905 Tranche 1 is expected later this year.
[Related: Saab Australia launches joint SEA 1905 bid]
News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media
Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.