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Rohde & Schwarz to provide ICS for Australia's future frigates

Pictured above is a computer-generated imagery of RAN's future Hunter-class frigates. Rohde & Schwarz Australia has signed a contract with BAESA to provide an ICS for the frigates. (BAE Systems)

The Australian subsidiary of German technology company Rohde & Schwarz has signed a contract with the maritime division of BAE Systems Australia (BAESA) to design and manufacture an integrated communications system (ICS) for the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) Hunter Class Frigate Program (HCFP).

In a media release on 3 May, Rohde & Schwarz said it will provide “in-country programme management, systems engineering, integration, installation, and verification services” as part of the process of developing and introducing the ICS into service.

Gareth Evans, the managing director of Rohde & Schwarz Australia, said the company has acquired the technology transfer and licence to manufacture twin “configurable communication masts or pole masts” for RAN's Hunter-class frigates from the UK-based STS Defence Ltd.

Rohde & Schwarz will seek to maximise opportunities for local industries “to assist in the manufacture, integration, testing, and commissioning of the ICS”, Evans added.

Kieran McLaughlin, head of maritime domain at Rohde & Schwarz Australia, 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 [UK] Royal Navy, as well as the evolved Cape-class patrol boats (ECCPB) for the RAN”.

In 2021 BAE Systems focused on working with Australian industries to garner support for enabling the materials and services to build the prototype blocks at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia, Craig Lockhart, managing director of BAESA, noted.

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