The Australian Government has selected Rheinmetall Defence Australia to provide anti-ship missile capability for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Hobart-class and Anzac-class fleet.

The government has allocated approximately $122.23m (A$180m) for the execution of this modernisation project over the next five years.

The order value for Rheinmetall is around €125m in sales. It marks company’s single-biggest order for ship protection systems.

The contract also includes an additional option to install MASS for all the naval vessels in the RAN fleet. If exercised, the total sales volume may increase to around €610m (A$1bn).

Under this contract, the company will deliver its Multi Ammunition Softkill System (MASS), which can be integrated in ships’ existing command and weapon engagement systems or can operate independently to provide protection against sensor-guided missiles.

The standard version of MASS includes about six trainable launchers, each capable of firing up to 32 Omni Trap decoy munitions.

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Initially, this system will be equipped with the RAN’s Hobart-class air warfare destroyers and Anzac-class warships.

The contract has a provision for transferring MASS technology that will enable Rheinmetall Defence Australia to manufacture this system under licence, prior to its final installation aboard the RAN’s surface vessels.

Assembling of MASS technology will be carried out by Rheinmetall Defence Australia at its Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Queensland, Australia.

Delivery of the first system is expected by the end of this year. Meanwhile, MASS technology is anticipated to achieve full operational capability by 2027.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Nathan Poyner said: “The contract, the first naval contract awarded to Rheinmetall Defence Australia represents a significant milestone as the company grows its local industrial footprint with further advanced assembly and training system capabilities in Australia.”

Associated work will create around 45 new jobs across the local supply and support chains in Brisbane. 

Australian Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy said: “It is great to visit Brisbane facility where this exciting new system will be developed with support from a number of local companies, creating Queensland jobs.”