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August 16, 2005

Gibbs and Cox preferred designer for Australian destroyer project

The Australian Federal Government has chosen Gibbs & Cox of the U.S. as the preferred designer for the Australian Navy's Air Warfare Destroyers (AWDs)--one of Australia's largest and most complex Defence projects worth up to A$6 billion (about US$4.6 billion.

Defense Minister Senator Robert Hill said Gibbs & Cox now joins a team made up of ASC Shipbuilder Pty Ltd, who has been selected to build the AWDs, and Raytheon Australia, selected as the Combat System-System Engineer.

Senator Hill said Gibbs & Cox, was chosen through a competitive tender evaluation process that also included Germany's Blohm + Voss and Spain's Navantia.

"The selection of Gibbs and Cox as platform designer now completes the team whose responsibility it is to deliver the project," Senator Hill said.

"The Gibbs & Cox evolved design will now compete with an Australianized version of Spain's existing F100 ship design, and will be further considered by the Government as part of the next phase of the project," he said.

The Australian Government has provided A$455 million (about US$350 million) towards the current phase of the AWD project which includes further design work, workforce skilling, initial infrastructure investment and facilities construction.

Senator Hill said the Defense program office would now advise on a location to establish a state of the art AWD System Centre which will house up to 200 personnel working on the development and through life support of the vessels.

The conduct of the evaluation and selection of Gibbs & Cox was reviewed by AWD Program Probity Advisers KPMG and also independently by Sir Laurence Street, both of whom have confirmed that the process was fair and equitable.

"The AWDs represent a quantum leap in the air warfare capabilities of the Navy," Senator Hill said.

"The vessels, which are to be introduced into service from 2013, will be equipped with the world-class AEGIS Combat System capable of detecting hostile aircraft and missiles at ranges in excess of 150 kilometres."

They will provide significantly increased protection from air attack for troops being transported and deployed on ADF Operations overseas and can provide long-range air warfare defence for a Naval task group.

The AWDs will also have an anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capability, as well as the ability to embark a helicopter at sea. The ship will also be interoperable with the United States and other Coalition partners.

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