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Aussie Industry Wins AP-3C Orion Contract (Nov 16)

The Australian Government, Tenix Defence and Australian Aerospace have signed the P3 Accord Master Agreement to provide innovative capability upgrades and Through Life Support (TLS) solutions for the RAAF Orion AP-3C weapon system.

Regarded by Australian defence analysts as a potential model for other Defence aviation System Programme Offices, the groundbreaking “Accord” will see the Commonwealth, Tenix Defence Aerospace Division and AA operate under a unique risk-sharing contractual arrangement to develop and implement all RAAF AP-3C capability upgrades and TLS solutions through to the aircraft’s planned withdrawal date.

The three parties have established a Joint Management Office (JMO) to supervise all Accord activities. The JMO will encourage increased co-operation among the parties and other Defence companies currently supporting the platform, and enhance the sector’s capacity to deliver sustainable capability, complex projects and TLS solutions.

“Rather than Tenix working on a specific project brief in relative isolation while another contractor works away on theirs, we will now have a real sense of shared purpose. This bodes extremely well for the successful completion of the large volume of work to come,” said Tenix Defence CEO Mr. Robert Salteri.

Australian Aerospace CEO Joseph Saporito said: “In anticipation of the Accord signature, the three Partners have been working under Accord conditions and the results have been most pleasing. The Best for Weapon System approach adopted by the three Accord members will ensure that the P3 Fleet maintains an optimum capability for its full life of type”.

The two industry partners are confident their long history of involvement with the Orion aircraft places them in good stead to deal with the Accord ’s significant scope.

“Tenix has been involved in the support of the P-3 Orion since the mid ’90s, including the recent EWSP modification, AIR 5276 Phase 2A Sea Sentinel production program at Avalon, Electro-Optical modification and software and aircraft integration activities at RAAF Base Edinburgh. So, looking ahead to future capability upgrades, we’re extremely optimistic,” said Tenix Defence Aerospace Division General Manager, Mr. Gerard Velayuthen.

“Australian Aerospace has been the deeper maintenance provider for the P3 Fleet since 1993 and was the prime integrator for the RNZAF Kestrel Program, which successfully re-lifed the RNZAF P3 Fleet,” Mr Saporito said. “We have strong ties to the P3 OEM through our P3 Orion Service Centre accreditation.

“Under the Accord, Australian Aerospace will have P3 Deeper Maintenance facilities at both Richmond and Edinburgh and a major role in provision of sustainment functions for the P3 Platform, building on the comprehensive TLS Capability already established for the ARH Tiger and Caribou platforms”.

In sustainment, TLS responsibility will also see the alliance develop and implement all needed logistics support solutions through to the AP-3C’s planned withdrawal date.

An Industry Plan will be developed to foster the role of small and medium-sized enterprises, providing niche expertise to the RAAF’s AP-3C fleet and a comprehensive workforce development and sustainment program will be established.

In addition to the TLS responsibility, Tenix and AA will be responsible for a number of challenging upgrades to the RAAF AP-3C over the next few years, including the provision of new weapons such as a lightweight torpedo (JP 2070) and a stand-off weapon (AIR 5418).

The combined value of the TLS and block upgrades to the aircraft will be more than $1b.

To date, industry partners have recruited more than 100 highly skilled engineers and trades into the program and an additional 200 people will be required to complete the block upgrade over the life of the program.

Other projects to be jointly implemented under the Accord include:

--AIR 5276 Ph 4 Electronic Warfare Self Protection
--AIR 5276 Ph 5B Electro-Optics Integration
--AIR 5276 Ph 6 Data Links
--AIR 5276 Ph 8A & B ESM Update
--MIS 886 Acoustic Data Collection and Recording System, and
--MIS 554-P3 Crash Data Recorder

The P3 Accord Master Agreement is a groundbreaking development for the Australian defence industry. It will help foster better co-operation among contractors while delivering greater efficiencies and optimum outputs.

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AP-3C Accord Master Agreement Formalised