Australia Pre-Buys AEGIS, Establishes SEA 4000 AWD Program Council
DID has covered Australia’s 3-ship, A$ 6 billion (USD $4.5 billion) SEA 4000 Air Warfare Destroyer program in some depth before. The project continues to move forward, with Australia placing an A$ 1 billion (USD $750 million) pre-order for key components of the AEGIS Combat System and setting up an Alliance Principals’ Council for the program.
The AEGIS system components are being procured despite the fact that the SEA 4000 destroyer does not yet have a finalized ship design.
Australia’s Minister of Defence Senator Hill said the Government has approved the purchase of three Aegis Weapon Systems from the United States Navy to reduce project risks and capital costs.
“The Aegis Weapon System comprises the core command and control system, phased array radar and missile launch system capability,” Senator Hill said. “Placing the order for the systems now allows the United States to continue manufacturing the systems for Australia without halting its production line bringing about greater efficiency and achieving considerable savings. The purchase will also maximise opportunity for Australian industry to provide sub-systems such as communications, electronic warfare, sonar, electro-optical sensors and other equipment.”
“…This decision maintains the Government’s option in mid-2007 at Second Pass to choose either the Evolved Design [DID: based on the American DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyer] being developed by Gibbs & Cox or the F-100 frigate military off the shelf design provided by Navantia of Spain.”
Both ships are built around the AEGIS radar and combat system.
In November 2004, Sen. Hill announced that South Australia will be home to the new headquarters of the Air Warfare Destroyer project creating up to 200 additional jobs, as well as generating specialised design work for contractors throughout Australia.
South Australia will also be home to the new AWD Systems Centre – the Headquarters of the project that will draw together Defence and industry partners to ensure effective decision making and provide a focus for design related activity. The systems center will include representatives from the Alliance Partners: the Commonwealth of Australia, the shipbuilder ASC, the systems integrator Raytheon, the ship designer Gibbs & Cox, and possibly others down the road. Work is expected to commence in the new center early in 2006.
To mesh with that infrastructure, an Alliance Principals’ Council has been established to build strong team partnerships between the key partners of the SEA 4000 Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Program. Members of the Principals’ Council include:
- Vice-Admiral Chris Ritchie, RAN (Rtd), just appointed as the Chairman and an independent member of the Council
- Lieutenant General David Hurley, Chief of Capability Development Group
- Dr Stephen Gumley, CEO of Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation procurement agency
- Mr John Prescott, Chairman of the program’s shipbuilder ASC
- Mr Dan Smith, Executive Vice President of Raytheon Integrated Defence Systems, the preferred bidder for the Combat System-System Engineer contract for combat system integration and maintenance.