The FFG Upgrade project is a step closer to its conclusion, with the Defence Materiel Organisation today accepting HMAS NEWCASTLE three months ahead of schedule.
The Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, the Hon Greg Combet AM MP, officiated at a Contractual Acceptance ceremony at Garden Island, Sydney, of HMAS NEWCASTLE – the fourth and final FFG to undergo the upgrade program.
Chris Lloyd, Thales Australia's Naval Division Vice President, said it was a significant day for the Royal Australian Navy, the DMO, and everyone involved in the program.
"The FFG Upgrade has been an enormous and complex undertaking, so we are pleased to see the final ship accepted ahead of schedule.
"HMAS NEWCASTLE is now a highly capable warship because of these enhancements, which have involved extensive cooperation between the Navy, the DMO, Thales, and many highly skilled subcontractors.
"The Navy fleet now has added flexibility, and we wish HMAS NEWCASTLE's Commanding Officer and crew all the best as they embark on a new chapter in the life of the ship."
The FFGs have been upgraded with improved anti-ship missile defence (the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile), on-board electronic support systems, tactical data link capability, underwater warfare systems, training systems, ship service diesel generators and other systems.
One of HMAS NEWCASTLE's sister ships, HMAS SYDNEY, recently returned from a sixmonth round the world trip, including a stopover in the US where it attracted significant attention as a result of its upgraded capabilities.
Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace, Space, Defence, Security and Transportation markets. In 2008, the company generated revenues of 12.7 billion euros (equivalent of AUD22.1 billion) with 68,000 employees in 50 countries. With its 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers as local partners.
Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management to security systems and services. Employing around 3,500 people in over 35 sites across the country, Thales Australia recorded revenues of more than AUD1 billion in 2008.