SEA 5000 contender and industry partners to establish Centre of Excellence

Navantia Australia IPMS Field Engineer Liju Muttath on site at SAGE Automation. Liju performs FAT testing on the IPMS control panels SAGE built for the Royal Australian Navy Auxiliary Oil Replenishment ships, being constructed by Navantia.

South Australia’s expertise in smart ship technologies will be boosted with the establishment of a $3 million Centre of Excellence in Adelaide if Navantia Australia is selected to build the Royal Australian Navy’s Future Frigates.

The Navantia SAGE Automation Group (NSAG) and Flinders University have agreed to develop an Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) Centre of Excellence (CoE) as part of Navantia Australia’s SEA 5000 Future Frigate proposal.

The CoE will bolster Australia’s sovereign defence capability through training and research collaboration. The proposed 200-square-metre facility at Tonsley Innovation District will house simulation rooms for NSAG’s IPMS – the naval platform control system that allows the remote control and monitoring of platform systems on board Navantia designed naval vessels.

This, along with a Land Base Test Site for testing of sustainment analysis tools such as ARGOS 21, will provide RAN crews with access to training on the IPMS.

"This partnership is about bringing together the best minds in industry and research to grow Australia’s sovereign defence capability," said SAGE Automation chief executive Adrian Fahey.

"SAGE, and the NSAG, has strong ties with Flinders University through our engineering graduate program and a number of R&D projects."

The IPMS CoE will draw on Flinders University’s maritime, automation and robotics research capabilities and the NSAG’s shipbuilding and automation industry experience to actively identify topics for collaborative research and development that will enable the RAN to better adapt their control systems to innovative future technologies.

"Navantia’s IPMS system is already on board the RAN’s Canberra Class amphibious ships, Hobart Class destroyers, and the Supply Class replenishment ships currently being constructed by Navantia. By 2020, almost 2,000 RAN service men and women will be trained and operate in the NSAG IPMS environment," said Navantia Australia managing director Donato Martinez.

"The benefits resulting from the collaboration at this centre will enable the continued development of smart ship technologies, which in turn will provide the RAN with greater cost efficiencies and operational availability of these ships."

Navantia Australia has committed an early investment of $3 million towards the IPMS CoE and expects to create 10 jobs directly, with benefits expected to flow on through industry R&D and graduate opportunities.

With an aim to build on-ground defence skills and technology in Australia, the IPMS CoE will offer formal training, scholarships, work experience, graduate programs and staff secondment opportunities.

Vice-chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said Flinders is committed to advancing research and industry collaborations that contribute to the state, and the nation’s economic growth and development.

"I am delighted that Flinders University is partnering with the Navantia SAGE Automation Group in the establishment of a Centre of Excellence that will help to develop national defence capabilities and create jobs here in South Australia," Professor Stirling said.

"This agreement demonstrates Flinders University’s commitment to collaboration with industry in ways that will catalyse economic growth through our world-class research, our expertise in advanced manufacturing, robotics and autonomous systems, and the Industry 4.0 capability at our Tonsley Manufacturing Innovation Hub."

The IPMS CoE announcement comes on the back of NSAG’s selection to supply the IPMS for the Navantia Australia SEA 5000 bid.

NSAG was established in 2016 as a joint venture between Navantia Australia and SAGE Automation to support of Navantia’s IPMS system, including its regional management, development and sustainment.

SEA 5000 contender and industry partners to establish Centre of Excellence
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