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Thales New Zealand sounds out suppliers
by Staff Writers
Auckland, New Zealand (UPI) Aug 11, 2011

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Thales New Zealand had what it called an "industry engagement day" with local businesses from marine and naval industry groups interested in frigate upgrade contracts.

During the meeting in Auckland, Thales said it highlighted opportunities for the 45 small to medium-size businesses to participate in the next phase of the major Frigate Systems Upgrade project for the two ANZAC class vessels.

Thales is looking for suppliers for an upgraded combat management system as well as new sensor and radar capabilities and associated through-life support services.

"Thales has extensive experience in large-scale naval programs, having successfully worked with 20 different shipyards in 19 countries on combat system programs for 40 different classes of vessels," Thales said in a statement.

Thales is preparing its supply chain for the next, the third, phase of the ANZAC upgrade project. A New Zealand government decision on approval to proceed with the project is expected by early next year, the Thales statement said.

"New Zealand has a wide range of very capable and innovative suppliers in the defense arena and we are very interested in talking to them in order to offer the government and taxpayers a compelling, value for money solution for this project," Peter Beggs, country director Thales New Zealand, said.

"Our bid is premised on mature, low-risk technology delivered on time by an experienced team to enhance the New Zealand military's naval capabilities. Suppliers will need to have a proven track record, flexibility and a strong focus on costs."

In February, New Zealand Defense Minister Wayne Mapp announced the second phase of the $58 million systems upgrade aboard New Zealand's two ANZAC-class frigates Te Kaha and Te Mana was under way.

Design and manufacturing contracts were awarded to Siemens, Noske-Kaeser, Australian Marine Technologies and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Australia.

"The ANZAC Platform Systems Upgrade contracts will allow the navy to leverage-off the technology developments that have been made over the past 20 years," Mapp said.

Work includes improvements to the ships' overall management systems as well as heating, ventilation air conditioning units to boost automatic control and monitoring. Importantly, it will allow the ships to operate better -- and give better working and living conditions to sailors -- in a wider range of climate extremes.

The upgrade work is being carried out in New Zealand as well as Australia, Canada and Germany.

The Te Kaha and Te Mana are two of the 10 ANZAC class frigates built in Australia by Tenix Defense Systems in Williamstown, and the only ANZAC vessels serving with the New Zealand navy.

Te Kaha was laid down in 1994 and commissioned into the RNZN in 1997, followed by the Te Mana, launched in 1997 and commissioned in December 1999. The 387-foot-long ships with ranges of more than 7,000 nautical miles are "the mainstay of the navy's combat force," the Defense Ministry said.

Since late 2009 both ships have undergone upgrades, including major engine work during the first phase.

The propulsion upgrade included Babcock Fitzroy replacing the ships' diesel engines, and related power and cooling systems, with more powerful units that deliver better fuel efficiency.

In March, OSI Geospatial, with headquarters in Vancouver, signed a $2 million contract with Siemens to provide an two of its Integrated Navigation and Tactical Systems for New Zealand ANZAC upgrade program.

OSI is working with Siemens to integrate Siemens' Integrated Platform Management System into a common multi-function workstation. Work is to be completed by the end of the year, OSI said.

The contract is the first for OSI with Siemens, a company statement said. But OSI Geospatial's relationship with the New Zealand navy began in 2004 with a contract to supply the entire fleet with the company's Electronic Chart Precise Integrated Navigation System for warships.

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No defence cuts to finance reforms: Israel PM
Jerusalem (AFP) Aug 11, 2011 - Israel's prime minister opposes cutting the defence budget to pay for economic reforms being demanded by a burgeoning social protest movement, daily Yediot Aharonot said Thursday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "believes that demands for reductions in the defence budget do not take into account the threats that face our country's security," the newspaper reported, without citing a source.

The top-selling Yediot said Netanyahu however had no plans to increase the defence budget, as demonstrators call on his government to make sweeping economic reforms that are expected to be costly.

There was no official confirmation of the reported decision, but an official in Netanyahu's office noted that the premier had warned that Israel faces continuing threats during remarks he made to a parliament committee last week.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak has also said he opposes any defence spending cuts, while expressing his support for the social movement in general.

Israel's annual defence budget runs at around $13 billion, including $3 billion that the Jewish state receives in military aid from the United States, and accounts for approximately seven percent of GDP.

Israel has been rocked in recent weeks by massive protests calling for reductions in the cost of living.

The demonstrators want lower taxes, cheaper housing, health care and education, and a reduction in Israel's income disparity.

Netanyahu's government has pledged to undertake reforms, saying the protesters have legitimate frustrations, but warned that it will not spend outside the current budget and cannot meet all the demonstrators demands.

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