Rohde & Schwarz (Australia) signed a contract with Austal Limited to deliver integrated communications systems for six new Cape class patrol boats (CCPB) being built the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The new RAN CCPBs are currently in production at Austal’s Henderson shipyard in Western Australia and are to be delivered from September 2021.
The CCPBs will include a number of enhancements that include Rohde & Schwarz communications equipment, including the company’s Naval Integrated Communications System (NAVICS) with multi-layer security and secure external line of sight (V/UHF) and beyond line of sight communications (HF).
Managing Director of Rohde & Schwarz Australia, Gareth Evans, said that, “As a communications systems integrator, we have unique perspective and capability along with clear technical superiority of our solutions, particularly NAVICS.
“One of the exciting aspects of this system is its true VoIP switching, it’s not a hybrid TDM solution. This makes it both future-proof and scalable. NAVICS also reduces the integration effort and risk associated with incorporating third party components using its versatile IP gateways. Rohde & Schwarz (Australia) established a very competent integration capability for Australian industry in Sydney to complement our existing maintenance and world-class calibration facilities. This opportunity ensures Australian jobs are created and supply chain opportunities continue for Australia’s shipbuilding industry. ”
Ben Wardle, General Manager Australian Shipbuilding at Austal said the company was looking forward to working with Rohde & Schwarz (Australia) to deliver an effective integrated communications system for the Cape class patrol boats.
“For the new Cape class patrol boat contract with the Department of Defence, Austal conducted extensive market testing for a new, proven partner that would be able to meet or exceed the technical scope of the project, whilst maintaining Australian Industry engagement. We were very pleased to find Rohde & Schwarz could fulfil this scope and we look forward to working with both the Australian and German based teams to deliver the very best integrated communications system for RAN’s new Capes,” Mr Wardle said.
“This contract represents a clear commitment by Austal and the Australian Government to strengthen the Cape class with Top-of-Class communication solutions by Rohde & Schwarz,” Hansjörg Herrbold, Vice President Market Segment Navy Rohde & Schwarz, says. “NAVICS is being deployed on numerous naval vessels, including the Royal Navy’s Type 26 frigates and was on display at the recent Pacific 2019 exhibition in Sydney.”
NAVICS uses state-of-the-art VoIP and Ethernet standards. Following market tendencies Rohde & Schwarz has decided to abandon outdated TDM technology, which required heavy proprietary hardware. Instead, NAVICS relays on widely spread industry standards and commercial-of-the-shelf hardware, thus eliminating the risk of expensive obsolete equipment. A multilevel security architecture allows secure, trusted and tamper-proof communications between multiple domains with different security classifications.
Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats (CCPBs)
Earlier this year, Austal Australia was awarded a A$324 million contract to design and construct six evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats (CCPBs) for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The six new vessels, to be constructed at Austal’s Henderson shipyard in Western Australia, will add to the RAN’s existing fleet of two CCPB’s delivered in 2017 and further extend Austal’s Cape-class Patrol Boat program to a total of 18 vessels. This includes eight patrol boats operated by the Australian Border Force (ABF) and two currently under construction for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG).
This was the largest contract for an Australian vessel construction program ever awarded to Austal in the Company’s 30-year history.
The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard Capes (Hulls 398 and 399) are currently in an advanced state of construction and are scheduled for delivery later in 2020. Construction of the six Capes for the RAN will commence shortly at Austal Australia’s Henderson, Western Australia, shipyard with deliveries scheduled from September 2021, then successively through to mid-2023.
Austal’s Cape-class patrol boat is a 58 metre aluminium monohull vessel, designed to perform border protection and maritime security tasks, with a top speed of 26 knots and a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles. With a crew of 22, the original Cape-class vessel is capable of undertaking 28 day patrols in (up to) sea state 4 and the ability to launch two boats simultaneously.
The new evolved CCPBs can accommodate an additional crew of 10 for a total of 32 and quality-of-life provisions have been enhanced, ensuring those who operate the new Capes have connectivity to the outside world regardless of the operating environment. Further improvements have been incorporated into the new RAN Cape design, developed during the design and construction of two Cape-class patrol boats for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard; an export contract awarded on 16th August 2019 and won with the strong support of the Australian Government and Export Finance Australia.