As part of the roll out of Plan Galileo, Defence and CASG are in the midst of enhancing the partnership between Navy and industry to support the ongoing sustainment of the fleet.
Plan Galileo aims to achieve three key objectives by 2025: to build a new approach to integrated capability life cycle management; to leverage new technologies and learning to improve productivity and promote increased levels of innovation, collaboration and knowledge-sharing in the maritime domain; and to generate the skilled workforce we need to meet this challenge.
Plan Galileo incorporates a national, integrated approach to the sustainment of Navy assets that supports the Naval Shipbuilding Plan and aligns with Navy's Plan Pelorus and Plan Mercator. Plan Galileo will build on the Australian Industry Capability Program by incentivising industry to build regional and local capacity.
Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group Head Maritime Systems, Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm, said the result would ensure delivery of complex naval capabilities while increasing opportunities for local small and medium businesses.
"We are looking for an Australian industry partner to deliver a new, innovative approach to the sustainment of Navy’s fleet, which will benefit defence industry in the regions through the establishment of regional maintenance centres. This approach will ensure Defence has sustainment operations in strategic home ports with the first tender already open for a regional maintenance provider in Cairns," RADM Malcolm said.
A core component of Plan Galileo is the Regional Maintenance Centres.
These are self-contained sustainment centres at Navy homeports comprising Defence, primes and small businesses that will be able to sustain vessels and then return them to sea utilising a superior workforce and focused on local supply chains. These centres are currently planned for Cairns, Darwin, Perth and Sydney.
RADM Malcolm added, "As outlined in Plan Galileo, these maintenance centres will be vitally important in sustaining our Navy fleet following the government’s investment of more than $170 billion in future naval assets."
As part of this, RADM Malcolm explained this investment, modernisation and recapitalisation of the Navy's fleet would result in the fleet doubling in tonnage while significantly increasing in complexity.
"Importantly, these regional maintenance providers will build resilient local and regional supply chains. The Cairns facility is the first of four to be established with construction due to be completed by the end of 2021 to initially sustain Navy’s new Evolved Cape Class patrol boats," RADM Malcolm said.
"This will be supported by the Skilling Australia’s Defence Industry Grants program, which provides businesses in the defence sector with upskilling and training opportunities."
Plan Galileo sees sustainment as a whole-of-life concept, considering sustainment needs at the design stage of a vessel. It considers capability life cycle management from the outset as an underlying principle of continuous sustainment, underpinned by the need to support a seamless transition from acquisition to sustainment. It reworks the support solution to one that adopts a fleet view, which drives commonality across sustainment and minimises duplication across the maritime domain.
The tender opened on 27 November and will close on 12 March 2021, with further information available on AusTender.