ULTRA Electronics has formally signed its $78m contract to supply three integrated sonar systems for the Royal Australian Navy's new Air Warfare Destroyers to be built in Adelaide.
The British defence and aerospace company will deliver the contract from its new Australian head office in Adelaide.
Ultra's customer is Raytheon Australia, one of the partners in the AWD Alliance which will design and build the destroyers. The AWDs will be fitted with undersea warfare sonar systems that comprise hullmounted sonars and towed sonar arrays utilising both passive and active elements.
Ultra has committed to execute 50 per cent of the contract value in Australia and plans to build on its existing presence there to be able to address not only the domestic Australian defence and security market but also other fast growing markets in the Asia Pacific area.
""Australia is an important defence market and the decision to build a capability in the state of South Australia is an important step in the Group's long-term strategic overseas development,"" Ultra chief executive Douglas Caster said.
The company also said there is potential for further contracts to enhance the system capability before the first ship enters service in 2014.
""The deal announced in Sept by the AWD alliance had a ball-park estimate of $100 million and negotiations were completed last week,"" AWD Alliance communications manager James Cannon confirmed today.
The ""first major flow-on contract'' for the AWD project announced by Ultra on November 10 also got a mention in Parliament last week, with Premier Mike Rann also recognising the presence in the chamber of UK company Ultra Electronics managing director Doug Caster and other senior executives.
""We welcome a new industry and a company that is pre-eminent internationally in a number of spheres of defence, including marine systems,"" Premier Rann said.
He described the $8 billion air warfare destroyer contract as ""the biggest and most complex defence contract ever let in Australian history"" with the actual building of the AWD to start next year.
""We are hopeful that eventually we will get a decision on a fourth,"" he added.
The Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance is due to deliver the first of three Hobart-class destroyers to the Australian Navy in 2014.
The $4 million Maritime Skills Centre - the first completed building - at the heart of the $400 million Techport shipbuilding facility at Osborne opened last week.