Contracts Down Under

A couple of contracts for Australia and New Zealand from British(ish) defence manufacturers.

Bridgend, UK – 14 August, 2014 – Airborne Systems Europe is pleased to announce that the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) will join their counterparts in the UK Royal Navy and United States Navy in fitting the Airborne Systems FDS3 decoy systems to their ships.

The FDS3 corner reflector decoy offers a unique countermeasure protection against the most advanced and latest RF-seeking missiles.

The contract to supply the system is valued at £3.4 million over the next three years and will see the system fitted to the RNZN frigates as part of the ANZAC class Frigate Systems Upgrade (FSU) project. The contract for the decoys was awarded on 3 July 2014 at the New Zealand Ministry of Defence offices in Wellington, New Zealand.

“The New Zealand Ministry of Defence has identified the capability that the FDS3 can provide against the proliferation of advanced missile threats that are emerging globally. The award of this contract is a proud achievement for Airborne Systems,” says Chris Rowe, President of Airborne Systems Europe.

“This contract further confirms the position of Airborne Systems as the world leader in naval corner reflector anti-missile decoy technology. This NZ MoD contract follows on from the success of the $41.7m US Navy contract in 2013. In addition to providing protection for the forces of our allies, it sustains high quality jobs in the UK, and more particularly in South Wales.”

“The FDS3 decoy system is one of a number of electronic warfare decoy products being designed and manufactured by Airborne Systems’ UK facility, and represents a growing market”, states Chris Rowe.

The NZ MoD’s FSU Project Director, Gary Collier, said at the contract award ceremony
“We are delighted to have negotiated this contract, and the FSU Project team is very much looking forward to working Airborne over the next few years. We’re proud to be the first customer outside of the UK and US, for this generation of the system, and believe the decoys provide an important adjunct to the overall anti-ship missile defence capability of our frigates and I know the RNZN is very pleased to be getting the FDS3 system”.

Peter Barrett, the Airborne Systems Business Development Manager for naval decoys adds,
“The FSU programme has allowed the NZ MoD to examine the range of naval anti-missile countermeasures in the marketplace, and which ones are most effective against the latest RF seeker technology. The selection of the Airborne Systems FDS3 corner reflector decoys recognises the fact that with the emergence of more advanced threats, navies will have to re-examine their strategies for defeating RF missiles, as the more traditional countermeasures that have been utilised for many years, will be increasingly ineffective against these latest missiles. The FDS3 system offers an effective solution against these advanced threats”.

Airborne Systems corner reflector decoys have been fitted to the UK Royal Navy frigates since 1986, with the latest version for the UK Royal Navy entering service in 2006, and also being fitted to their latest Type 45 destroyers.

In September 2013, Airborne Systems announced a contract award with the US Navy (USN) worth $41.7m to supply a USN variant of the FDS3 decoy system (Mk59), for fitment on USN frigates, over a 5 year programme. Other NATO nations have also fitted various versions of the decoy system onto their vessels.

The decoy system itself comprises of deck-mounted launch tube, which is already preloaded with the decoy, and upon pressing the fire button in the Ops room the process then becomes fully automatic. The decoy is launched out of the tube, and fully inflates alongside the ship’s hull on the sea surface, before automatically being released and free floating past the stern. This entire deployment and inflation process takes a very short period of time, making the FDS3 system effective against supersonic threats.


About Airborne Systems Naval Decoy

Airborne Systems decoys can be used in seduction, distraction, confusion and signature management roles, and are particularly suited to littoral operations. Each decoy incorporates a passive array comprising a series of radar reflectors. Radar Cross Sections (RCS) in excess of 500,000 square meters can be achieved from a single decoy. A fully independent unit, the decoy does not require to be supported with other countermeasures such as jammers. One single decoy gives ship soft kill protection, per threat engaged, providing a high level of performance for a low cost, compared to other multiple firing lower performing countermeasures. The decoy systems are designed and manufactured to meet specific requirements to match the performance and fighting tactics of the customer’s navy. These performance requirements are Radar Cross Section (RCS) values, the time required from firing to full effectiveness on the sea surface, and the duration that the decoy is required to remain effective on the sea surface.

About Airborne Systems

Airborne Systems Europe is a world leader in the design and manufacture of naval decoy systems. In addition to this, Airborne Systems is the leading brand in military parachute systems. It specializes in the design, development, and manufacturing of parachutes for air vehicle and spacecraft recovery systems, aircraft deceleration and spin/stall systems, personnel, and cargo parachute systems. Airborne Systems is a global company, supporting customers from around the world, with operations centers in Bridgend, and Letchworth in the UK, and in the USA, Pennsauken, New Jersey; and Santa Ana, California.

Datasheet here, deployment video below


The second contract;

The Defence Material Organisation (DMO) has awarded a $105M contract to high mobility vehicle specialist, Supacat, to deliver 89 Special Operations Vehicles – Commando (SOV-Cdo) for the Australian Defence Forces under the JP2097 Ph 1B (REDFIN) program. The new SOV-Cdo are based on the latest MK2 version of Supacat’s HMT Extenda and designed to meet Australian Special Force’s specific requirements.

The contract follows the successful completion of the Prototype Development and Evaluation phase in which Supacat built and delivered the prototype SOV-Cdo.

Nicholas Ames, Managing Director, Supacat Group said “This is the first of the MK2 HMT Extenda’s to go into production and represents a significant increase in capability in terms of protection, transportability and firepower, while retaining the mobility and versatility for which the vehicle has become well known.”

Designed for, and used by, the world’s elite special forces, the HMT Extenda is unique in being convertible to either a 4×4 or 6×6 configuration to meet different operational requirements. Its open architecture provides for various levels of protection and great variety in the roles and missions for which it can be configured. The SOV-Cdo will be delivered in four reconfigurable roles, emphasising the flexibility of the HMT platform.
Supacat has partnered with Australian companies located throughout NSW and Victoria within Supacat Team Australia to manufacture components and assemble the vehicles at a facility in Western Sydney. In January 2012 Supacat opened offices in Australia to manage Supacat’s activities in the Asia Pacific region and which will be responsible for delivering the program.

Michael Halloran, Managing Director, Australia, said “The award of this contract is another important stepping stone in the development of our presence in the Asia Pacific market and is due recognition of the performance of Supacat and our partners in the Australian market to date.”

Supacat Extenda inside Chinook
Supacat Extenda inside Chinook

Read more about Extanda at the Supacat website

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About The Author

Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

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August 19, 2014 12:06 pm

It’s always easy to lampoon the UK Procurement system and all the cock ups that happen, but I am doing quite a bit of work in Australia and for every good little story like this about Australian procurement there are 10 others doing the rounds over there about the sheer scale of incompetence.
The AWD “Hobert Class” destroyers are at the center of a cost and over-run storm at the moment, quickly followed by the Canberra LHD with its cracked hull issues and then the Collins Class submarine replacement programme which is turning into a right fiasco.
Of interest to me is JP2110, the all singing and dancing, let’s buy all our CBRN needs in one shot programme. This is so big cost wise, that it needs Government approval ever time it’s delayed. Already 4 years behind and not a RFQ in sight! Logic would say break it down into small easy to manage 1 pillar projects, but that would mean lots of red faces. So we plough on regardless of the consequences with a possible update at Land Forces 2014 in September to see if the powers to be on their “Industry Day” have had enough and wish to off load the whole ticking time bomb to a Prime Consortium to run and the joys that brings.