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Raytheon leads industry debate on future frigate

The value of interoperability and a common mission systems architecture

Commonality + Interoperability = Next Generation

The importance of interoperability with the United States and the value of a common mission systems architecture across the future Australian fleet of surface combatants were key themes discussed at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Future Frigate conference held in Canberra this week.

The three-day event provided an opportunity for industry representatives and Defence personnel to provide perspectives on the future surface fleet. Presenting an industry view was Raytheon Australia’s Managing Director Michael Ward, who highlighted that industry is a fundamental input to capability; which means that at our best, we are trusted partners of Defence providing an essential contribution to their mission success.

He said the future frigate program provided an ideal opportunity to establish such a collaborative approach between Defence and industry to deliver a cost effective capability for the surface combatant fleet.

Also presenting at the conference was Mike Moe, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems Vice President, Business Development and Strategy, who said that the need for interoperability will be a vital consideration for determining the mission systems of Australian surface combatants.

According to Michael Ward, the aim of implementing a common mission system architecture across the future surface combatant fleet would be to achieve, at a minimum, an implicit fleet operability with maximum commonality across mission systems. He spoke about the merits of reusing the AWD mission system architecture on the Future Frigate. These included its ability to take advantage of secure sensor netting technologies, such as the Cooperative Engagement Capability, to enhance situational awareness as well as providing a path to the next generation of long range weapons and potentially ballistic missile defence.

Supporting Michael Ward’s argument, Mike Moe stressed the strategic advantages that would result from having a common mission systems architecture, including access to sensitive US technologies and reduced cost of ownership through reduced training and support costs.

Mike concluded his remarks by saying “interoperability powered by commonality, especially in combat and weapons systems, supported by sensor-netted systems such as CEC, will create the future for a networked surface fleet, working in conjunction with its strongest ally, to its national and international interests. I believe this is not a choice, but rather a necessity in the future environment in which we will operate.”

Published: 03/30/2015

Last Updated: 05/04/2015

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