The federal government has signed a contract for the sustainment of the Anzac class frigates, with the work centring on Western Australia.
Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne stated that a partnership between BAE Systems Australia, Saab Australia, the Naval Ship Management joint venture between UGL and Babcock, and the Commonwealth, will streamline a number of existing contracts for the whole-of-life sustainment of the frigates.
“The open-ended sustainment contract has a value of over $2 billion for the first eight years, and will provide certainty to the principal partners to invest in growing skills and capabilities,” the Defence Minister said in a statement. “It will also provide increased opportunities for the engagement of small to medium-sized businesses in the Australian maritime industry.”
BAE Systems welcomed the signing of the contract, stating that its involvement in the alliance, which is known as the Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA), will ensure that it continues to play a leading role in the sustainment of the Australian surface fleet. The initial eight-year agreement period begins at the beginning of July.
The company said that many of its maritime facilities will contribute to this program, including asset management in Rockingham, platform engineering and integration support in Williamstown, and major refit and upgrade implementation at Henderson.
The WAMA includes a Life of Type Assurance Program (LOTAP) for the Anzac fleet that BAE Systems said is due to begin next year with HMAS Perth, which was the first ship to undergo the Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) upgrade.
The scope of work includes improving the engines, propulsion, lighting, heating, cooling and communications systems, with work expected to start at Henderson in April 2017. The first phase of the program, valued at $107 million, has been awarded, allowing design and long-lead procurement to commence.
“This new alliance is a demonstration of how the industry can work together to deliver the support the Royal Australian Navy requires,” said BAE Systems Australia chief executive Glynn Phillips. “It ensures that the Anzac class ships will be supported for the remainder of their naval service, allowing the capability to be in place until they are replaced by the Future Frigate fleet.
“Our work on this program will allow BAE Systems to retain important skills in engineering and program management across the country that will contribute to our proposed work on the Future Frigates program, for which we have been down-selected.
“Our involvement in this alliance reflects the outstanding work that we have been doing to date in the sustainment of the Anzac class fleet, and the upgrade of these frigates with a world-leading Anti-Ship Missile Defence capability at our Henderson shipyard.”