Thales proposes new Maritime Autonomy Collaboration Precinct


Thales Australia is developing a masterplan for the company’s Carrington site on the Newcastle foreshore to establish a sovereign Maritime Autonomy and SME Collaboration Precinct.

The Precinct, on the site which built and supports the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Huon class minehunter coastal (MHC) and mine warfare capability, will support Mine Countermeasures and Military Survey Capability SEA1905-1 programme, should Thales be selected.

Such a selection would inject more than $40 million in the local Hunter economy in New South Wales in the first five years, and create over 100 new jobs.

The Vice President, Underwater Systems, Thales Australia and New Zealand Troy Stephen said Newcastle, and the Hunter region had been a stalwart of the RAN’s mine countermeasure capability from the time of construction of the first Huon class MHC vessels by then Australian Defence Industries (ADI) in the nineties. Today MHC maintenance and support continues to be carried out at Carrington.

Stephen said: “As Newcastle has evolved into a modern metropolis, the RAN’s Mine Countermeasures and Military Survey Capability will also undergo rapid advancement and a significant technological step-change into autonomy under SEA1905-1.

“Carrington, the home of the MHC, is the ideal location to develop and deliver the next generation of sovereign mine warfare capability for the RAN, providing the ideal test and evaluation environment whilst generating significant investment in local SMEs and jobs in the region.”

With the RAN’s MHCs scheduled for gradual retirement from service in the future, the Carrington site development would establish an Australian eyes-only dedicated home for the development and deployment of a sovereign maritime autonomy capability.

A new Maritime Autonomy and SME Collaboration Precinct would realise Thales’s long-term commitment to supporting the RAN’s maritime autonomy ambitions in the Hunter region – with Carrington the ideal location as it enables rapid access to both shallow and deep water for trial teams.

The Thales development at Carrington will also expand the company’s technology and autonomous capability footprint, with similar centres already operating in both the UK and US. The Carrington development in Australia would enable the pooling of technology, expertise and industrial effort between the three countries.

A new purpose-built facility would also support collaboration across research institutions, SME partners, and industrial partners to establish future sovereign technology pathways for the development and integration of autonomous vessels in support of Australia’s nuclear deterrence capability.

Image: Thales Australia

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