Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel – Projects of Concern Update

Projects of Concern Update

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today provided an update to the Projects of Concern List.

The ANZAC Class Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) project has been removed from the Projects of Concern list and the Multi Role Helicopter (MRH-90) project has been added.

So far this year four projects have been removed from the list, three through remediation and one through cancellation. 

At the beginning of the year, 12 projects were on the list.  There are now nine.

This shows the system is working – fixing problem projects.

More projects are expected to be in a position to be removed from the list before the end of the year. 

The Projects of Concern process was established by the Government in 2008 to focus the attention of the highest levels of Government, Defence and Industry on remediating problem projects. 

In June, Mr Smith and Mr Clare announced reforms to strengthen the Projects of Concern process, including:

  • The establishment of a more formal process for adding projects to the list;
  • The establishment of a formal process for removing projects from the list;
  • The development of agreed remediation plans, including formal milestones for the removal of a project from the list; 
  • Increased Ministerial involvement and oversight of the process; and
  • Incentives for companies to fix projects on the list by taking into account the performance of companies in addressing Projects of Concern when evaluating their tenders for other projects.

Since the Projects of Concern process began in 2008, 19 projects have been put on the list.  Since then, ten of those have been removed – eight due to remediation and two due to cancellation.

ANZAC Class Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD)

The ASMD project is upgrading the ability of ANZAC Class ships to defend themselves from anti-ship missile threats.

The project was listed as a project of concern in mid-2008 due to challenges with engineering and technology development.

In July 2009, Government approved the upgrade of HMAS Perth as the lead ship for the Anti-Ship Missile Defence program.  Upgrade work was successfully completed earlier this year.

Following exhaustive testing, including in theUnited States, the Chief of Navy agreed to the operational release of the radar system in July of this year. 

Government has now approved the installation of the system onto the remaining seven ships of the ANZAC class by 2017. 

As a result of the achievement of these milestones the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Materiel Organisation has recommended the removal of this project from the Projects of Concern list.

The Government has agreed to this recommendation.

Multi-Role Helicopter (MRH-90)

This project will provide Army and Navy with 46 new helicopters to replace the existing Black Hawk and Sea King fleets.

The project is running late, primarily due to technical issues affecting the aircraft.

The project has suffered delays of some two years to date. 

There remains a risk that the program will be further delayed.

In April this year, the project underwent a comprehensive independent diagnostic Gate Review.

This review recommended a remediation strategy which was agreed to by the prime contractor, Australian Aerospace.

At that time, Mr Clare said the project would be reviewed again this year.  That review was conducted in September.

The MRH project has encountered a number of significant technical issues, which have now triggered early indicators and warnings thresholds for schedule and contractor performance.

On the basis of the latest review, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Materiel Organisation has recommended that the project be listed as a Project of Concern.   The Government has agreed to this recommendation.

To manage any capability gap with the retirement of Navy’s Sea King helicopters in December 2011, Navy will generate an additional short term Seahawk flight.

Army’s Black Hawk fleet is also able to be extended to cover the capability gap in the short term.

A summary of the current Projects of Concern list is below:


Projects of Concern List:

Project Description Date Added


Collins Class Submarines Nov 2008
AIR 5077/3


‘Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft Jan 2008
JOINT 2070/2 and 3


Lightweight torpedo replacement for ANZAC andADELAIDEclass frigates Jan 2008
LAND 121/3 Overlander replacement field vehicles, trailers and modules (Medium Heavy class) Jul 2008
JOINT 129/2


Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Sep 2008
AIR 5402 Multi-role Tanker Transport aircraft – Air to Air Refuelling Capability Oct 2010


AIR 5276/8B


Electronic Support Measures upgrade for AP-3C Orion aircraft Oct 2010
AIR 5418 Phase 1


Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) Nov 2010

AIR 9000 Phases 2,4 and 6


Multi-Role Helicopter


Nov 2011


Projects removed from Projects of Concern list:

Project Description Date removed
SEA 1411


Sea Sprite Helicopter (Project cancelled) Mar 2008
AIR 87


Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (Remediated) Apr 2008
LAND 106


M-113 Armoured Personnel Carrier Upgrade (Remediated) May 2008
JP 2088 Phase 1A


SF Air Drop RigidHullInflatable Boat Trailers (Remediated) Sep 2009
SEA 1390 Phase 2.1


Guided Missile FFG Upgrade (Remediated) Jan 2010
AIR 5416 Phase 2 Rotary Wing Electronic Warfare Self Protection ‘Echidna’ (Scope reduced) Jul 2010
JP 2048 Phase 1A LCM2000 Watercraft for Landing Platform Amphibious Ships (Project cancelled)


Feb 2011
JP 2043 Phase 3A


High Frequency Communications Modernisation (Remediated) Jun 2011
AIR 5333


Air Defence Command and Control System ‘Vigilare’ (Remediated) Jun 2011
SEA 1448 Phase 2B ANZAC-class Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD)


Nov 2011


Media Contacts:

Mr Smith’s Office: Ellen Shields (02) 6277 7800 or 0400 347 473

Mr Clare’s Office: Korena Flanagan (02) 6277 7620 or 0418 251 316

Department: (02) 6127 1999


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