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Update: Australia to procure MASS decoy system for frigates, destroyers

Rheinmetall's MASS decoy system is pictured here firing an Omni-Trap multispectral decoy round during a live trial. Australia will become the 16th user country of the system. (Rheinmetall)

The Australian government has signed a deal with Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA) to procure the company's Multi Ammunition Softkill System (MASS).

The Department of Defence (DoD) in Canberra said on 5 May that the MASS decoy system will be integrated onto the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) Anzac-class frigates and Hobart-class destroyers.

The deal also includes an option to subsequently expand the order to include the entire RAN fleet. The initial contract is worth AUD180 million (USD120 million) over five years.

Rheinmetall said that the first MASS systems under the new contract will be delivered to Australia by the end of 2023, with full operational capability achieved by 2027.

The company said the total value of the procurement could exceed AUD1 billion if Australia exercises options to equip the entire RAN fleet with the system.

Rheinmetall also said the new contract represents its “single-biggest order ever for ship protection technology”. It said that Australia will become the 16th user country of the MASS system. Other users include Canada, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, and Sweden.

The company added that the contract includes the transfer of MASS technology to RDA to enable local production under licence, before installing and commissioning the systems onboard Australia's surface combatants.

The MASS systems ordered by the RAN will be assembled at RDA's Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE). This facility was launched in 2020 to build Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRVs) for the Australian Army.

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