BAE Systems Australia’s in-service support arrangements for the Royal Australian Navy’s hydrographic platforms in Cairns have been extended.
CAPTION: Minister for Defence Peter Dutton MP and Deputy Chief of the Royal Australian Navy Rear Admiral Christopher Smith CSM RAN, board HMAS Leeuwin during their visit to HMAS Cairns, Queensland. Photo by Leading Seaman Shane Cameron.
The current support arrangements for the fleet will continue for another 12 months at a cost of $14.3 million.
Announcing the extension in late January, Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said it would provide certainty for Defence industry while supporting 60 local jobs in Cairns.
“This contract extension recognises the outstanding partnership between Defence and BAE Systems Australia as we continue to support the important work delivered by defence industry in Far North Queensland,” Mr Dutton said.
The Department of Defence’s Head of Maritime Systems, Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm, said the decision also demonstrated a commitment to the Australian Defence Force’s hydrographic survey capability, which was tasked with charting more than one eighth of the Earth’s surface.
“The Royal Australian Navy’s hydrographic fleet is responsible for delivering Australia’s official nautical charts, which are essential for safe navigation at sea,” Rear Admiral Malcolm said.
Navy’s hydrographic fleet consists of two Leeuwin-class hydrographic ships, two Paluma-class survey motor launches and shore-based hydrographic systems.
The Leeuwin-class operate in deep water using an array of multi-beam echo sounders and sonars to uncover ocean features, while the Paluma-class usually operate in pairs in shallow and more constrained waters.
Rearm Admiral Malcolm said the continuous support of Navy’s hydrographic fleet at HMAS Cairns by an experienced and capable Australian industry would ensure the protection of Australia’s marine environment and safe ocean passage for all.
As outlined in the 2020 Force Structure Plan, the Australian Government will invest in up to eight new mine counter-measure and hydrographic survey vessels to be built in Australia.