Rohde & Schwarz to be Hunter Class Comms Integrator

Rohde & Schwarz Australia will design and manufacture an integrated communications system (ICS) for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Hunter Class Frigate Program (HCFP), following signature of a contract with BAE Systems Australia’s (BAESA) maritime division that allows for the addition of scopes of work over time.

Under the initial scope of the early engineering contract, Rohde & Schwarz Australia will provide in country program management, systems engineering, integration, installation and verification services for the acquisition and introduction into service of the ICS.

“The selection of Rohde & Schwarz Australia as Communications System Integrator (CSI) in this early phase of the Hunter program is a clear validation of the Commonwealth’s and BAESA’s intent to create opportunities for local industry participation,” said Rohde & Schwarz Australia Managing Director Gareth Evans. “During our 40 years here in Australia, we have established a sovereign CSI and service delivery capability of which we are rightfully proud. This has been demonstrated time and again through our delivery of highly capable systems to our customers in Australia and the region.”

“On Hunter, Rohde & Schwarz Australia will be seeking to maximise opportunities for competitive Australian industry to assist in the manufacture, integration, testing and commissioning of the ICS,” Mr. Evans added. “We have also secured from STS Defence Ltd. in the UK the technology transfer and licence to manufacture the Configurable Communication Masts, or pole masts, for the Hunter class. This allows us to deliver on our Australian Industry Content commitments to both BAESA and the Commonwealth, grow the local manufacturing capability and enable a more efficient and reliable delivery and local sustainment arrangement.”

Rohde & Schwarz Australia Head of Maritime Domain Kieran McLaughlin said the company will leverage experience gained from integration of its Naval Integrated Communications System (NAVICS) into the Type 26 frigate now being delivered into service with the Royal Navy, as well as the Evolved Cape Class Patrol Boats (ECCPB) for the RAN.

“We have now provided more than 40 navies with our scalable, modular and customisable solutions,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “NAVICS will revolutionise on-board communications for the RAN, implementing the most modern IP- based Multi-Level Security (MLS) architecture for naval vessels.”

“Rohde & Schwarz Australia’s role as the CSI on the ECCPB underpins the knowledge transfer through our Australian capability. As leading-edge communications technology, delivering world-class capabilities, while simplifying third party integration and minimising personnel requirements and total cost of ownership, NAVICS is in a class of its own,” explained Mr. McLaughlin. “We are incredibly proud and excited to be delivering this world leading capability to the Royal Australian Navy.”

Craig Lockhart, Managing Director of BAE Systems Australia – Maritime welcomed the contract with Rohde & Schwarz Australia: “During 2021 our focus was working with Australian businesses in support of prototyping – enabling the materials and services to build the prototype blocks at the state-of-the-art Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia,” Mr. Lockhart said. “As we now progress past the Systems Definition Review our relationship with Original Equipment Manufacturers will increase significantly, Rohde & Schwarz will provide fundamental design inputs for our Communications capability on Hunter.

“Rohde & Schwarz Australia conducting this work in Australia is a great step forward that doesn’t only mean local jobs, but importantly, growing local capability. We look forward to them being part of the Hunter team,” Mr. Lockhart concluded.

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