By Maximilian Clarke

BAE Systems (LSE: BA) has been awarded a contract for 270 million Australian Dollars to upgrade the seven remaining Royal Australian Navy ANZAC class frigates, with the Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) capability already implemented on the first of class, HMAS Perth.

The new contract follows the successful upgrade of HMAS Perth earlier this year which was completed on time and budget with completion of sea trials and acceptance taking place in June.

The new contract will be completed through the ANZAC Ship Integrated Material Support Program Alliance comprising BAE Systems, Saab Systems and the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO).

BAE Systems Australia Director Maritime, Harry Bradford said project management and planning for ship two would begin immediately with fabrication set to begin early June next year and installation to commence in the fourth quarter of 2012.

He said the scope of the project included ship integration of the leading edge CEA Phased Array Radar (PAR), the Vampir NG Infrared Search & Track (IRST) system, the Sharpeye Navigation Radar System (NRS), and an upgraded Saab Combat Management System (CMS) including an improved operations room layout.

“The platform integration of these systems will require significant structural modifications however having undertaken this already on HMAS Perth we will be able to implement process improvements gained from that project.
“Like the work carried out on HMAS Perth we will again replace the forward and aft masts on all ships.”

Mr Bradford said the facilities available at the company’s Henderson yard in Western Australia meant that BAE Systems had the capability to carry out this large project to its completion in 2017.

“Our Henderson shipyard has the ability to dry-dock two ships simultaneously and this enables the fleet upgrade program to be accelerated with operational and cost benefits to the Commonwealth.

Mr Bradford said the ASMD project would also be a boost for the local economy with an additional 240 jobs created by this project with 90 per cent of those based at Henderson in WA. The remainder will be at BAE Systems Williamstown yard.

“BAE Systems is continuing to invest in its Henderson yard and winning this contract demonstrates the Government’s confidence in our capacity to again deliver a successful result on ASMD and upgrade the rest of the ANZAC fleet.”

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