The Government of Australia has signed a contract with Thales UK for the design of Attack-class submarine’s primary underwater sensor.

The contract was signed via Lockheed Martin Australia for the outboard flank array design and includes partnering arrangements with Australian industry.

The outboard flank array acts as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the submarine when it is submerged.

As part of the Sonar Subsystem, the flank array provides situational awareness to the crew.

Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “Thales is a global leader in underwater systems and the world’s top exporter of sonars and related systems for naval forces.

“This contract builds on the work defence already has with Thales to upgrade the sonar suite of the Collins fleet.

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“Following a competitive tendering process, Thales is committed to establishing the Australian industrial capability needed to support the sovereign build, operation and sustainment of the Attack class submarine.”

In a separate development, Raytheon Australia has been selected as the new Capability Life Cycle Manager for the Royal Australian Navy’s Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV).

This move is said to support the Australian industry with the A$183bn Naval Shipbuilding Plan.

The company will provide support for the transition of the OPVs into service.

The first two vessels from the Arafura-class are being constructed at Osborne, South Australia, and the other ten vessels will be constructed at Henderson, Western Australia.

Another company based in Sydney, Britton Maritime Systems, has received a A$9m contract for the construction of 12 Gemini seaboats for the new Cape Class Patrol Boats.

Reynolds said: “The Gemini are specifically designed for the Cape Class vessels and are already in operation with the current fleet of Navy Cape Class Patrol Boats.

“The seaboats are the primary mission system for the Patrol Boats, providing an insertion capability for boarding and landing parties in support of operational requirements.

“Two seaboats will be delivered and fitted to each of the six evolved Cape Class Patrol Boats currently under construction at the Austal Shipyard in Western Australia.”