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@AVNHQ Business Bulletin, 17 March 2021

By Leo D’Angelo Fisher

Top stories:

$150 million contract secures next generation anti-missile system Boost for Cairns as regional navy hub Brake technology company speeds up export drive

$150 million contract secures next generation anti-missile system

BAE Systems Australia has signed a $150 million five-year contract for in-service support and round production of the next generation of the Nulka anti-missile system.

Nulka is a rocket-propelled active decoy system designed to lure anti-ship missiles away from their intended target.

The system was first installed on Royal Australian Navy (RAN) surface ships in the late 1990s and is currently fitted to the Canberra Class LHD, Anzac Class frigates and Hobart destroyers.

It is deployed on more than 140 surface combat ships in the US, Australian and Canadian navies.

The contract, which went live on 1 February, brings together the continued development, acquisition and sustainment of the Nulka system into one contract with the Australian Government as well as international customers in the US.

BAE Systems says Nulka relies on a strong Australian supply chain and supports high-tech manufacturing in metropolitan and regional centres through the involvement of suppliers such as Albury, NSW-based Milspec Manufacturing and defence contractor Thales Australia.

The contract will see the Nulka anti-ship missile defence capability fitted to the next generation of RAN warships, including the Hunter Class frigates.

The latest phase of the Nulka program will maintain 60 jobs in Victoria, 15 in South Australia and 15 in NSW.


Boost for Cairns as regional navy hub

Far North Queensland has received a major boost as a regional maintenance and sustainment hub for the Royal Australian Navy following the signing of a memorandum of understanding by Thales Australia, shipbuilder Austal and Cairns-based Tropical Reef Shipyard.

The memorandum focuses on the capability assurance of Navy assets through the delivery of project management and ship repair and defect rectification services from Cairns and prioritises the development of local professional, technical and trade skills in Far North Queensland.

Thales Australia vice-president of above water systems Max Kufner says the memorandum will “ensure Navy gets the best support and sustainment outcomes, whilst maximising opportunities for local companies”.

“Local Cairns businesses have played an essential role in delivering the sustainment of the Armidale Class patrol boats for the Royal Australian Navy,” Kufner says.

“These activities have seen more than $10 million invested in the local economy in 2020 as a direct result of Thales’s policy of maximising the work flowing to local small and medium sized businesses.”


Brake technology company speeds up export drive

Perth company Advanced Braking Technology (ABT) has received a $240,000 Defence Global Competitiveness Grant to pursue international defence sector opportunities.

ABT provides braking technologies in the mining, civil construction and defence sectors.

The grant will be used to purchase a specialised CNC (computer numerical control) machine for use in manufacturing heavy-vehicle brake mechanism components.

The Defence Global Competitiveness Grant program has supported more than 40 Australian small and medium businesses to pursue opportunities in global markets.

ABT is the first company to receive a Defence Global Competitiveness Grant since the federal government increased its value from $150,000 to $240,000 and reduced an applicant’s co-contribution rate from 50 per cent to 20 per cent.


Leo D'Angelo Fisher is a regular columnist and Editor-at-Large at Australian Veteran News. Connect with him on Twitter: @DAngeloFisher.

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