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Thales Australia developing masterplan for Maritime Autonomy and SME Collaboration Precinct

Thales Australia has announced that the company is developing a masterplan to establish a Maritime Autonomy and SME Collaboration Precinct on the Newcastle foreshore to support the RAN’s SEA 1905-1 program should the company be selected.

Thales Australia has announced that the company is developing a masterplan to establish a Maritime Autonomy and SME Collaboration Precinct on the Newcastle foreshore to support the RAN’s SEA 1905-1 program should the company be selected.

The precinct is expected to inject over $40 million into the Hunter economy in the first five years, as well as create 100 new jobs on the company’s Carrington site.

The site at Carrington has been used to support the Navy’s Huon Class MHC vessels and mine warfare capability which are scheduled for gradual retirement.

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The new precinct will be used to help the company deliver the Royal Australian Navy’s Mine Countermeasures and Military Survey Capability SEA 1905-1 program, should Thales be selected for the project.

Detailing the company’s plans, Thales Australia confirmed the site will be developed to create an Australian eyes-only base for maritime autonomous capability helping to accelerate SEA 1905-1, supported by the company’s DISP Level 3 classification.

Thales Australia bills the Carrington site as the “ideal location”, with access to shallow and deep water for trials while maintaining Navy’s ambitions for maritime autonomy development in the Hunter.

It expands the company’s global autonomous capabilities, with Maritime Autonomy Centres currently operating in the United Kingdom and United States.

Thales Australia explained the new site will enable technology pooling to enhance industrial efforts between the AUKUS partners, while also drawing from expertise from research institutions, SMEs, and industrial partners to promote the development and integration of autonomous capabilities in support of the nation’s future nuclear-powered submarines.

The site enables the continued development of mine countermeasure capabilities in the Hunter, Troy Stephen, vice-president, underwater systems, Thales Australia and New Zealand, said.

“Newcastle, and the Hunter region, have been a stalwart of the RAN’s mine countermeasure capability from the time of construction of the first Huon Class MHC vessels by ADI in the nineties, through to today, with MHC maintenance and support continued to be carried out at Carrington,” Thales’ Troy Stephen explained.

“As Newcastle has evolved into a modern metropolis, the RAN’s mine countermeasures and military survey capability will also undergo rapid advancement and a significant technological step-change into autonomy under SEA 1905-1. Carrington, the home of the MHC, is the ideal location to develop and deliver the next generation of sovereign mine warfare capability for the RAN, providing the ideal test and evaluation environment whilst generating significant investment in local SMEs and jobs in the region.”

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