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Australia to issue tenders for new underwater tracking ranges

The Department of Defence (DoD) in Canberra announced on 2 December that it will issue tenders next year for work on new maritime underwater tracking ranges set to be built in Western Australia.

The project will replace the original tracking range that was developed for testing the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) Collins-class submarines – and ceased operating in 2012 – with new deep- and shallow-water tracking ranges, said the DoD in a statement.

The project also aims to provide a deployable tracking range, which will be tested in the same area but will be capable of being deployed in deep and shallow water in multiple locations.

Commodore Darron Kavanagh, Director General Combat Management and Payload Systems at the DoD’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), said Defence would undertake an open-tender process to identify industry partners to deliver “the vital high-technology capability”.

“There will be many opportunities for Australian industry to help provide Defence with a flexible, integrated surface and underwater tracking range capability,” he said, adding this will be an important sovereign capability “that will provide Defence with vital information on the performance of its maritime warfare assets while creating longer term opportunities for industry”.

“This includes Australian academia and the research and innovation sectors to develop advanced signal processing and anti-submarine and unmanned system capabilities in this country.”

Once completed the ranges are expected to provide the RAN with the capability to conduct exercises in deep ocean waters and littoral waters, involving surface and sub-surface assets simultaneously.

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