KBR and Babcock Australasia announced on 17 May, a partnership to provide fleet asset management services to the Royal Australian Navy, submitting a joint proposal in response to the tender for the Amphibious Combat and Sealift Capability Life Cycle Manager, with KBR as the prime contractor.

The collaboration aims to offer naval asset management services under the Maritime Sustainment Model, leveraging the companies’ expertise and capabilities to enhance the fleet’s operational availability while ensuring cost-effectiveness.

The companies have a history of activity in this area, with KBR having supported the Capability Support Coordinator contract, and Babcock engaged as Asset Class Prime Contractor for the Commonwealth of Australia.

In 2014, KBR won an initial 5 year-contract with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to provide capability support services for two Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock ships, the largest ships then constructed for the ADF, each transporting over 1,100 troops, 100 armoured vehicles, and 12 rotary wing aircraft.

In February 2022, Babcock acquired Naval Ship Management, responsible as the Asset Class Prime Contractor for the Landing Helicopter Dock Ships.

Rob Hawketts, vice-president of KBR’s Government Solutions APAC, commented on the announcement, saying the new partnership will build on experience working on on the Landing Helicopter Dock, Landing Ship Dock, and Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment platforms, to provide a “more affordable and operationally available fleet”.

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“KBR’s considerable and proven experience as LHD Capability Support Coordinator, complemented by Babcock’s experience as Asset Class Prime Contractor, gives us the ‘know how’ and ‘know why’ to reduce cost of ownership and ensure the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet is available when and where it is needed.”

He added that the collaboration would reduce transition risks, and hasten the transformation of the Garden Island Defence Precinct to the Maritime Sustainment Model with “limited impact on operational availability.”

According to Martin Halloran, the Executive Director of Strategy and Future Business at Babcock Australasia, this commitment to developing sovereign capability will also “drive efficiencies across multiple ship platforms and sets the programme on a sustainable availability trajectory.”