All systems are go

MAWSON LAKES

SA defence companies chosen

TWO defence companies based at Mawson Lakes are to play a pivotal role in the production of a new naval combat system, creating 200 jobs.

Edinburgh-based BAE Systems Australia has chosen Saab Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia to help develop the combat system for the Hunter class frigates to be built at Osborne for the Royal Australian Navy.

The system will be based on Aegis – the combat system used by the US Navy – and will be modified to include systems developed in Australia such as the Nulka decoy, which emits electronic signals to confuse incoming missiles attacking ships.

Saab Australia managing director Andy Keogh said the decision was “a fantastic result” for the company, which recently has expanded its Mawson Lakes operations.

“It is the culmination of over 30 years of collaborating with BAE Systems Australia in integrating complex combat systems for the Royal Australian Navy,” he said.

BAE Systems was named in June this year as the preferred contractor for the $35 billion Hunter Class Frigate Program. Nine of the anti-submarine warships will be built in SA.

BAE Systems Australia Hunter Class frigate program managing director Nigel Stewart said the Hunter Class combat system was a vital piece of the vessel’s infrastructure.

“It will give the men and women who operate these ships the capability to protect the nation against airborne, surface and under-sea threats,” he said.

“We can be proud that this capability is being created in Australia and that the Hunter Class program will sustain the existing skills and experience of the engineers already delivering capability to the navy.”

Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand chief executive Vince Di Pietro also welcomed the announcement.

“Lockheed Martin is delighted to partner with BAE Systems and Saab Australia to integrate the Hunter class combat system into Australia’s future frigates,” he said.

Construction of the Hunter Class frigates is due to begin in 2020, with an expected workforce of about 4000.