KBR wins RAN information technology upgrade contract

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) guided-missile destroyer (DDG) HMAS Hobart (foreground) and ANZAC-class guided-missile frigate HMAS Stuart are pictured conducting exercises with US and Japanese naval forces in the Philippine Sea in July 2020, during an extended regional deployment by a RAN task group.

Government and technology solutions KBR announced on 27 February that it has been selected to provide sustainment services to equip the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with a modernised Fleet Information Environment under Project SEA 2273.

KBR said it will provide a 12-month sustainment to Project MINERVA, supported by Australian based companies oobe and Bluerydge.

According to the company, MINERVA will provide the RAN with faster, more capable and more secure computer-based information systems, which are vital in ensuring the service can operate in contested, congested and degraded information environments.

KBR noted that supporting ships at sea presents a unique information management challenge and requires computer networks that can remain effective even in low bandwidth or congested communications environments.

It added that the contract builds on the company’s strong performance in delivering ICT hardware, software sustainment and specialist communication services to the Department of Defence (DOD).

“Key to the delivery of MINERVA is providing a cyber-worthy communications system that operates across and within secret, protected, official and coalition networks,” said Nic Maan, vice president of KBR Government Solutions APAC.

“This support will provide the Royal Australian Navy with decision superiority in the maritime domain, which is essential for Defence’s ability to conduct operations,” said Maan.

The contract announcement follows an Australian government announcement that the country will develop a “larger and more lethal surface combatant fleet” for the RAN that will more than double its size.

According to the Australian government, the RAN’s future surface combatant fleet will comprise 26 major surface combatants consisting of:

  • Three upgraded Hobart-class air warfare destroyers
  • Six Hunter-class frigates
  • 11 new general-purpose frigates
  • Six new Large Optionally Crewed Surface Vessels
  • Six remaining Anzac class frigates with the two oldest ships to be decommissioned
  • 25 minor war vessels to contribute to civil maritime security operations, which includes six Offshore Patrol Vessels

by Jr Ng