Integrated in Australia
Integration ensures the success of a world-class combat system
Whether for submarine or surface combatants, the installation, upgrade and maintenance of a world-class combat system is extremely complex.
Australia needs the skills to successfully design the systems engineering and systems integration solutions for these high-level systems.
The engineering specialists behind this capability are called combat system integrators in the submarine domain, or mission system integrators in the surface combatant environment. Here are the ways in which those roles are performed:
The submarine domain
The Australian Government has implemented a Competitive Evaluation Process to determine a design and build option for its Future Submarine (SEA 1000).
While a Government decision on the SEA 1000 Combat System Integrator (CSI) is yet to be made, it is expected that the United States AN/BYG-1 Combat System will be selected for the Future Submarine, along with the Mk 48 CBASS torpedo.
The AN/BYG-1 Combat System, managed jointly with the United States Navy (USN) and familiar to the Collins-class submarine, has evolved over the years through updates, upgrades and new capability insertion. The system’s sensors and effectors have also been updated under the direction of an Australian-led contingent that includes Raytheon Australia and select product Original Equipment Manufacturers.
Raytheon Australia has responsibility for integration and testing activities, ensuring the revised system remains state-of-the-art.
The company is a proven CSI and should be chosen for Australia’s Future Submarine project, considering its contribution to Collins and the value this experience would provide in ensuring the success of SEA 1000.
- no other company in Australia has more than 15 years of in-country experience in complex program management. That experience involved Collins combat system design, installation, set-to-work activities, integration, verification and validation, or upgrade and sustainment – all under a performance-based framework.
Secondly, the complexity of a submarine program demands a CSI that is competent to assume full responsibility for installation, integration, test and activation activities and acceptance. Raytheon Australia delivered high-value, strategic national Defence surface ship and submarine assets thanks to the skill-set of local combat system technical and logistics specialists. The company demonstrated awareness of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) processes and requirements, including those pertaining to Australian technical regulations for handling of ITAR, Export/Import operations, classified, Austeo and FOUO information.
Thirdly, Raytheon Australia’s performance on Collins shows its ability to meet a project’s key technical requirements, including CAT 3, 4 and 5 acceptances for a submarine combat system and sub-systems.
Ensuring the smooth transition from Collins to Australia’s Future Submarine will require a CSI with industry experience, an understanding of integration, engineering and customer requirements, ability to meet technical standards and a skilled local workforce to limit disruption to capability or schedule.
The surface combatant environment
The Australian Government has recently committed to a long-term naval shipbuilding plan. This has provided much-needed clarity for the defence industry and will lead to greater certainty in investment decisions.
The pillar of the Government’s recent announcement was bringing forward the Offshore Patrol Vessel and Future Frigate programs, worth an estimated $39 billion. The announcement to build these ships on a continuous-build model is particularly important, as it offers the best opportunity for productivity improvements necessary to deliver value for money. However, beyond the much-talked-about and well-known ship fabrication aspects, it is also the highly skilled combat or mission system integrator (MSI) contribution to the shipbuilding’s industrial capability that must be sustained for the national interest.
Successful development and delivery of new ship capability systems has become increasingly complex and risky. These systems are required to be developed within, and deployed into, enterprises that themselves are massively complex and constantly evolving. Ensuring a successful outcome requires concurrent and integrated application of mature complex program management, system architecting, systems integration, and sustainment engineering capabilities. Collectively, those are the key principles of the MSI.
Within the MSI responsibilities, the system architect’s role is pivotal. The system architect seeks to establish the defining structures, boundaries and relationships that will become the underlying structure (architecture) for the warship‘s embedded fighting capability.
Moreover, the expertise of the MSI is critical from early concept design through to system integration, installation, test and transition into service – and everything in-between. That contribution ensures the delivery of the sophisticated and complex warfighting capability of naval vessels such as Future Frigate.
As overwhelmingly demonstrated on the SEA 4000 Air Warfare Destroyer program, significant system performance increases are possible if the MSI is able to effectively partner with the customer and key stakeholders from the outset.
Moving forward, the advent of Australia’s continuous shipbuilding program not only presents an opportunity to help secure the important skills of the MSI for the 2020s and beyond, it is also a real opportunity to take a fresh look at the way in which the ADF acquires and supports complex warship mission systems.
It encourages consideration of a system-of-systems or enterprise perspective to the delivery of naval warfighting capability in Australia, and the effective long-term management of these warfighting systems.
The benefits of an enterprise perspective to the delivery and sustainment of the warfighting capability across the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of surface combatants include:
- A mechanism for achieving commonality in architectural design of the mission system across the future fleet, including inter-operability with wider ADF systems, networks and coalition partners
- Reduced risk in the evolution and introduction of the major technical innovations (such as the CEA radar capability) that are required to maintain a technological advantage over the evolving threat environment
- Significant cost benefits to training, maintenance and the upgrade of systems over the life of the surface combatant fleet
- Centrally managed import, transfer, integration and sustainment of any US technologies subject to US Department of State International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR)
- Reduced obsolescence by effective design for support within the One Defence framework
- Efficiencies through consolidation of a range of combat system design and support services.
Pursuing a system-of-systems or enterprise perspective to the delivery of naval warfighting capability in Australia will instill confidence that the broader Australian naval shipbuilding industry has a strong, long-term future. Such an approach will help secure not only shipbuilding jobs, but important high-value skills in MSI for the national interest.