New sustainment contracts announced for Australian destroyers and submarines

The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) lead DDG HMAS Hobart, pictured in late 2018. Earlier in the year, the ship had tested its CIWS system for the first time, in trials off Australia.

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has awarded two separate contracts with BAE Systems and Raytheon Australia to support the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) fleet of Hobart-class guided-missile destroyers and Collins-class diesel-electric submarines (SSKs), respectively.

BAE Systems has been awarded a six-year contract to manage sustainment for the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart-class air warfare destroyers, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced in mid-October.

According to the DoD, the A$155 million contract will entail the installation of a Capability Life Cycle Manager to the destroyers as part of the Future Maritime Sustainment Model under Plan Galileo, which seeks to introduce a fleet-wide, whole-of-life concept to naval sustainment from design of a vessel through to disposal.

Under this new initiative, BAE Systems will support the destroyers as they age, including a significant upgrade to their combat management system in 2025. The Capability Life Cycle Manager will work with Regional Maintenance Centre East, a new construct which is also being established to maintain multiple asset classes as part of the new approach.

“We are operating in an increasingly uncertain strategic environment; we have to ensure we have the necessary skill and capability, coupled with robust supply chains, here in Australia to equip and enable our Defence force,” said Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy.

“We know how critical the local Defence industry is to that effort and to building our sovereign naval capability,” added Conroy. “Extending our partnership with BAE Systems for our Hobart class destroyers will ensure the vessels are fit-for-purpose, reliable and available when and where they are needed.”

Meanwhile, Raytheon Australia’s five-year, A$322 million deal will entail in-service support for the Collins-class SSK’s combat system as the RAN transitions towards operating nuclear-powered submarines. The Collins-class boats will also benefit from life-extension work and selected upgrades in 2026.

“The ongoing sustainment and upgrade of these boats will help maintain a capability advantage and ensure our fleet is ready to meet the challenges across our strategic environment,” said Tony Dalton, Deputy Secretary of National Naval Shipbuilding and Sustainment,.

The latest developments follow the appointment of Raytheon as the Capability Life Cycle Manager for the new Arafura class offshore patrol vessels in December 2020.

by Jr Ng