The recent INDO PACIFIC International Martime Exposition – one of the largest Defence industry events ever held in Australia – provided the setting for a great example of one of the many ways Hunter Defence support SMEs in their defence industry journeys.
I S Systems (ISS), a Hunter based SME with Defence (Navy) experience, has been actively pursuing Australian Industry Capability (AIC) opportunities in the Hunter Class frigate program. During the SEA5000 tendering phase, ISS was identified by several system suppliers as a potential AIC SME partner.
GE Power Conversion in Rugby UK are delivering the Type 26 & Hunter Class frigate electric propulsion systems, comprising large electric motors and power converters. GE Power began discussions with ISS in 2016 and the proposed ISS AIC scope is the assembly, wiring and testing of the large propulsion power converters.
The original AIC plans for the engagement (plans and schedules) of the systems suppliers and their AIC partners has not materialised to date. GE Power have provided a sequence of proposals with the required AIC component. In late 2021, GE Power were engaged for the FOC (first of class) based on a proposal without the AIC component. This engagement stalled for reasons unknown to GE Power.
ISS has participated in related events in Glasgow, London, Canberra and Adelaide (twice). ISS also has had additional meetings with GE Power in Rugby (twice), Tomago and Sydney, plus video teleconferences over the years. ISS has provided estimates and quotations for various options over this period.
ISS and GE Power had an arranged meeting at the beginning of the INDO PACIFIC 2022 expo. GE Power explained the current situation with the Hunter Class project and requested assistance from ISS to resolve the impasse and AIC issue.
ISS resolved to approach Tim Owen, Defence Industry Advisor at Hunter Defence and Chair of the Hunter Defence Taskforce to seek advice about how to approach this issue and possible ways to proceed. A meeting with Tim Owen, Anthony Heath (NSW Infrastructure), GE Power and ISS resolved to approach Jane Wood (CASG AIC) who was also in attendance at the expo. Tim Owen and Anthony Heath briefed Jane Wood and she agreed to meet with GE Power and ISS. Following this meeting, Jane Wood agreed to attend a follow up meeting with GE Power, BAE Systems and CASG to address the engagement and AIC issues.