Joint Media Release - Prime Minister, Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Industry - New Approach to Naval Combat Systems

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The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP

Prime Minister

Senator the Hon Marise Payne

Minister for Defence

Media contact
  • Henry Budd (Minister Payne’s office) 0429 531 143
  • Defence Media (02) 6127 1999

The Hon Christopher Pyne MP

Minister for Defence Industry

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3 October 2017

The Turnbull Government is equipping Australia’s Navy with the world’s best technology as part of a multi-billion dollar investment unveiled today.

The new approach for combat management systems will ensure our Navy’s future ships are fitted out to protect Australia in the decades ahead.

Under the plan, the combat management system for Australia’s fleet of nine Future Frigates will be provided by the Aegis Combat Management System, together with an Australian tactical interface, which will be developed by SAAB Australia.

This decision will maximise the Future Frigate’s air warfare capabilities, enabling these ships to engage threat missiles at long range, which is vital given rogue states are developing missiles with advanced range and speed.

The Future Frigates will be operating in a complex and growing threat environment. By bringing together the proven Aegis system, with a cutting edge Australian tactical interface developed by SAAB Australia, our Future Frigates will have the best capability to defeat future threats above and below the surface, while also ensuring we maintain sovereign control of key technologies, such as the Australian designed and built CEA phased array radar.

In the past, Defence has taken the tendered combat management systems individually, which has meant that the Navy has operated numerous systems at the same time. This has not allowed defence industry to strategically invest for the long-term and has also increased the cost of training, maintenance and repair.

Under the Turnbull Government’s new strategic enterprise approach, the Government has now mandated that where the high-end warfighting capabilities of the Aegis system are not required, a SAAB Australia developed combat management system will be used on all of Australia’s future ship projects.

This includes mandating a SAAB Australia combat management system on the upcoming Offshore Patrol Vessels, which will be built in Australia from 2018, and an Australian tactical interface developed by SAAB Australia for the Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyers when their

Aegis combat management system is upgraded in the future, consistent with the 2016 Defence White Paper.

Further, it guarantees the development of a long-term sustainable Australian Combat Management System industry, which is integral to the implementation of the Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan.

The Turnbull Government is investing in Australia’s Navy and ensuring it is fully equipped to protect the nation from future threats.

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