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Thales Australia bolsters Naval Support to Australian Defence Force

21 March 2007

Thales Australia's Naval activities have seen a solid year of successes in 2006 focussing on the dual aims of delivering capability to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and securing new work to ensure continued growth of its extensive engineering, production and maintenance competencies.

Thales Australia achieved numerous major milestones in the Guided Missile (FFG) Upgrade Project in 2006 including acceptance trials, and the hand back of HMAS SYDNEY in April followed by the provisional acceptance in December. Work began on the second frigate upgrade with the docking of HMAS MELBOURNE completed ahead of schedule. The FFG Upgrade Project is the most sophisticated naval systems integration task ever undertaken by an Australian company involving both new technologies and legacy equipment.

Thales Australia Naval will continue its proud association with the Royal Australian Navy's HUON Class Minehunter Coastal ships (MHCs) having entered into a new Performance and Availability Based In-Service Support (ISS) contract. Under the contract Thales Australia is responsible for supporting all aspects of the MHC platform.

In 2006 Thales, with its partner DCN/ARMARIS submitted a comprehensive tender for the JP2048 Phase 4A/4B Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) Amphibious Ships project to supply two LHDs based on the operationally proven Mistral class LHD amphibious ships.

The Mistral is in service with the French Navy and saw recent operational service in southern Lebanon.

Effective provision of through-life support of Royal Australian Navy (RAN) assets is a major priority for Thales Australia as demonstrated in its tender for the HMAS SUCCESS Type B refit.

The Underwater Systems business of Thales in Australia continued its commitment to research and development in Australia to further enhance the underwater warfare systems capabilities of the ADF.

Examples of the numerous R&D programs underway include the official opening in 2006 of the new OCEAN Lab experimentation and simulation environment for underwater systems. Another is the Capability and Technology Demonstration contract for the Monostatic RASSPUTIN active/passive sonobuoy that will examine the potential of the buoy to efficiently detect submarines at extended ranges.

The Underwater Systems business also entered into contract for Phase 3 of the DJIMINDI project in 2006. Phase 3 includes the in-country production of the next generation MU90 IMPACT lightweight torpedo to replace the current ADF inventory of lightweight torpedoes.

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