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Update: Australia signs navy sustainment deal with Thales

An aerial view of Garden Island Precinct. (Thales Australia)

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has signed a AUD2 billion (USD1.3 billion) contract with Thales to maintain and sustain Royal Australian Navy (RAN) vessels in Sydney.

Under the agreement – announced on 22 November – Thales Australia was appointed as ‘regional maintenance provider' for the new Regional Maintenance Centre East (RMC East) at the DoD's Garden Island Precinct.

A Thales spokesperson told Janes that work on the contract will commence on 1 July 2024. “This is the same date RMC East is scheduled to start operations sustaining RAN vessels,” the spokesperson added.

The DoD said the seven-year contract will “ensure Australia has the sovereign industrial base to maintain and sustain Australia's naval fleet into the future”. It said the deal includes incentives to ensure local small businesses are given a “fair opportunity to compete for work”.

The new maintenance centre will support the sustainment of the RAN's two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock ships, three Hobart-class guided-missile destroyers, and the Bay-class amphibious landing ship HMAS Choules .

The DoD said the contract is part of a new national approach to sustainment that establishes a “consolidated network of maintenance centres around Australia to support continuous naval shipbuilding and respond to a more challenging strategic environment”.

Thales Australia said that in executing the contract it will collaborate with maintenance providers across the country to provide the RAN with sustainment, integration, and life-cycle management services.

Thales Australia's provision of maintenance and sustainment services to the RAN at the RMC in Sydney will be supported by a contract the company signed in March with ORBIS Sibro, a US Navy industrial enterprise partner.

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