BAE Systems Australia has secured an initial sustainment contract for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) new air warfare destroyers (AWDs), marking a significant step towards delivery of the first destroyer next year.
Under the five-year, $70m contract, BAE Systems will serve as the managing contractor and will cooperate with the Australian Department of Defence to engage local companies.
The companies will be then contracted to provide maintenance and support for the AWDs following their commissioning into service.
Australian Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said: “Under the contract, Australian industry will play a key role in ensuring that these warships are available for use by the navy when required.
“The maintenance and support of the Air Warfare Destroyers will provide approximately 50 full-time Australian jobs in Sydney, with additional work during extended maintenance periods.”
The AWD programme, which is one of the largest defence projects undertaken by the Australian Government, involves the acquisition of three Hobart Class AWDs to boost Australia’s defence capabilities.
The AWDs will be equipped to provide air defence for accompanying ships, land forces and infrastructure in coastal areas, and self-protection against missiles and aircraft.
The warships can be deployed into various joint maritime operations ranging from area air defence and escort duties to peacetime national tasking and diplomatic missions.
The AWD programme is being executed under an alliance-based contracting arrangement between ASC as the lead shipbuilder, Raytheon Australia as the mission systems integrator and the Australian government.
Under the programme, the AWDs are being constructed in blocks at three Australian shipyards, namely ASC, BAE Systems and Forgacs as well as at Navantia's shipyard in Spain.
Image: A Hobart Class vessel under construction. Photo: courtesy of Bahudhara.