Morrison Government equipping Navy with cutting edge intelligence capability

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Related ministers and contacts

Senator the Hon Marise Payne

Acting Minister for Defence

Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC

Minister for Defence

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Nicky Hamer (Minister Reynolds’ Office): +61 437 989 927

Defence Media:

The Hon Melissa Price MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for Science and Technology

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23 March 2021

Issued by Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Acting Defence Minister

Joint media release

  • The Hon Melissa Price MP, Minister for Defence Industry

The Morrison Government is boosting the Royal Australian Navy’s intelligence capability through Defence’s Maritime Unmanned Aircraft System Continuous Development Program.

The Program has reached a new milestone following the selection of five respondents to progress to the next phase of the procurement process.

The Acting Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne today announced that BAE Systems Australia, Insitu Pacific, Northrop Grumman Australia, Raytheon Australia, and Textron Systems Australia had been shortlisted for Block One of SEA129 Phase 5.

“This Program will acquire maritime unmanned intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting aircraft systems which will complement current sensors and systems on Navy’s ships, while boosting a ship’s area of surveillance,” Minister Payne said.

“Today’s milestone is a result of the Morrison Government’s unprecedented $270 billion investment in defence capability over the next decade, which is equipping the Australian Defence Force with world-class, cutting edge capability.”

Block One of the program is the first phase of a 30-year continuous development program, with five-year rolling block upgrades, which will incorporate new technology upgrades.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the project was delivering on the Morrison Government’s commitment to maximise Australia’s defence industry involvement in the acquisition, operation and sustainment of defence capability.

“By incorporating new technology through block upgrades every five years, the program supports the development of Australia’s Unmanned Aircraft System industry, and provides the Navy with a leading edge maritime surveillance capability,” Minister Price said.

“This process will allow Australian businesses to be directly involved in providing greater situational awareness for the Fleet, in particular the new Arafura Offshore Patrol Vessels, while strengthening long-term job growth and security.”

Future opportunities will be available in forthcoming Blocks of SEA129 Phase 5 from 2024.

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