Saab Australia has signed a $370 million contract with the Commonwealth to provide the Joint Project (JP) 2060 Phase 3 Deployable Health Capability (DHC).
The project seeks to acquire three modular and scalable field hospitals – one for the RAAF and two for Army – to provide deployed trauma services that meet NATO performance targets. Each field hospital will notionally include soft and hard shelters with two operating theatres, four intensive-care beds, a 20-bed ward, and ancillary services such as x-rays, CT imaging, laboratory diagnostics, and dental services. The field hospitals will be deployable by helicopter or Bushmaster protected military vehicle (PMV).
“The project will deliver the most comprehensive deployable health transformation in the ADF’s history, and will align the ADF deployable health capabilities with cutting-edge international military health capabilities,” Defence Minister Reynolds said in a statement. “Each of the modules will provide a different health function, such as pathology, intensive care, treatment and holding, resuscitation, surgery, primary dental care, imaging, and environmental health.
“The performance-based support contract with Saab Australia will increase efficiency, reduce overheads, and most importantly, provide the ADF with flexibility to refresh health technology to meet evolving operational requirements, including domestic and regional humanitarian deployments,” she added
Under the contract, Saab has teamed with Aspen Medical, Philips Healthcare Australia & NZ, Broadspectrum, and Marshall Land Systems to provide the necessary equipment, and to sustain it for an initial five years. In a statement, Saab Australia Managing Director, Andy Keough said in a separate release, “Saab is a strategic and long-term partner for Australian Defence and as a result of this contract, we will relocate our global deployable health centre of excellence from Sweden to Australia.”
In the ministerial release, Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said, “Saab Australia will establish a Deployable Health Capability Support Centre in south-east Queensland, creating 50 new full-time positions throughout its supply chain. This presents new opportunities for Australian businesses to benefit from international technology transfer and improve our access to global marketplaces.”
The drawn out project has experienced several delays in recent years, ostensibly due to re-prioritisation of funding, but reportedly also because of requirements creep. After the initial request for tenders closed in late 2017, the project didn’t enter into an Offer Definition and Improvement Activity (ODIA) risk mitigation activity (RMA) until early 2019, where the Saab team was able to demonstrate its capabilities.