Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the Government had given Second Pass Approval for two important capability projects: the purchase of 12 new watercraft for the two Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships and the enhancement of information and technology infrastructure at Headquarters Joint Operations Command (HQJOC) .
Purchase of watercraft for LHD (Joint Project 2048 Phase 3)
The Government has agreed to the purchase from Navantia of 12 medium-sized fast landing craft (the LCM-1E) for the LHD through Joint Project 2048 Phase 3.
This follows a decision in February 2009 to direct source the purchase of the watercraft to Navantia.
Navantia are building the hulls for the two LHDs and the watercraft will be purpose-built for these ships.
The watercraft will enable transport of troops and equipment from the LHDs to the shore including where there are no fixed port facilities.
The delivery of the first batch of four watercraft will be co-ordinated with the delivery of the first LHD, expected in 2014.
Construction of the LHDs is underway in Spain and Australia.
The LHDs are bigger than Australia’s last aircraft carrier. Each is 230 metres long and can carry a combined armed battlegroup of more than 1000 personnel, 100 armoured vehicles and 12 helicopters. Each also includes a 40-bed hospital.
Maintenance and support for the watercraft will be provided by Australian industry.
The total cost of Joint Project 2048 Phase 3 is cost capped between $300 million to $500 million in the Public Defence Capability Plan.
The final cost is subject to the satisfactory negotiation of a contract with acceptable terms and conditions.
Australian Defence Force Command and Control (Joint Project 2030 Phase 8 )
The Government has also approved enhancements to information and communications technology infrastructure at Headquarters Joint Operations Command (Bungendore) as well as software upgrades to better support military planning.
The enhanced command and control system will also allow better communication between operations staff and troops, particularly commanders and Special Forces.
Defence will purchase commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software products which will then be integrated to meet requirements.
It is expected that the capital expenditure for these enhancements will generate around 75 jobs and support around 25 on-going jobs in Australia.
Additional hardware and software upgrades to support better military planning will be considered by Government in future elements of Joint Project 2030 Phase 8.
The total cost of Joint Project 2030 Phase 8 is cost capped between $100 million to $300 million in the Public Defence Capability Plan.
Imagery of Navantia landing craft is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003=&search=11120825
Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Mr Clare’s Office: Korena Flanagan (02) 6277 7620 or 0418 251 316
Department: (02) 6127 1999