The SEA 1350 program aims to replace and upgrade the existing RAN facilities in Western Australia, enabling the submarine fleet to undergo a pre-deployment process, which aims to reduce or eliminate the magnetism of a steel hull to enhance stealth capability, preventing submarines from triggering magnetic mines or attracting certain types of torpedoes.

The companies have several years of experience providing signature management capability and working on maritime ranges for the RAN.

L3Harris’ Oceania business based in Fremantle, Western Australia, provides the acoustic undersea range systems supporting signature management and live-firing exercises, and supports many other RAN systems including maritime navigation and hydrographic mission systems.

“Reducing ships’ magnetic signatures is a key capability for the RAN. If we’re successful, we would also subcontract a number of other Western Australian-based subject matter experts (SME) to support the design, construction and maintenance of the new facility – delivering sovereign superiority in the region.”

Ultra’s UK business, PMES, currently supplies the RAN’s existing MTF located at Fleet Base West as well as all in-service open sea magnetic ranges. If successful, Ultra would transfer skills and technology to its South Australian-based business to grow Australian industry’s signature management capability and enable sovereign sustainment.

The third company under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is Western Australian-based SME, Indianic Group, who specialize in marine and subsea infrastructure. Indianic Group currently maintains and operates the existing magnetic measurement and deperming facilities at Fleet Base West.

“We have been involved with the magnetic treatment facility for the past 15 years, maintaining and sustaining the facility on a daily basis. We look forward to joining forces with L3Harris and Ultra to provide a combined and enhanced support offering to the RAN.”

The formal tender process for Phase 2 of the SEA 1350 program has recently opened with an Initial Operating Capability planned for 2023.

The partnership would extend to the SEA 1350 Phase 3 Maritime Underwater Tracking Range, covering the upgrade of the fixed and portable acoustic tracking ranges, which is planned to be tendered in late 2020. L3Harris and Ultra have also successfully partnered on other Australian projects across sonar, communications and electronic warfare technologies.

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Naval News comments:

The three companies above are set to compete against a French-Australian joint venture for SEA 1350. Australian marine technology firm AMOG Ventures Pty Limited (AMOG) and French naval technology specialist ECA GROUP have formed last year a company named Advanced Magnetic Ranges Australia Pty Limited (AMRA).