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Rohde & Schwarz delivers comms systems for first Australian enhanced Cape-class boat

23rd March 2022 - 18:17 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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NAVICS MLS will improve on-board communications for the RAN, implementing the modern IP-based MLS architecture for Cape-class boats. (Photo: Austal)

Rohde & Schwarz delivered communication systems for the first of the Royal Australian Navy’s Enhanced Cape-class Patrol Boat (ECCPB) on 23 March.

As communication systems integrator, Rohde & Schwarz has assisted prime contractor Austal in upgrading Australia's Cape-class vessels to utilise a customised Naval Integrated Communications System (NAVICS) for secure and reliable communications.

Following market tendencies, Rohde & Schwarz abandoned outdated TDM technology for the upgrade and instead focused on modern industry standards and COTS hardware, eliminating the risk of expensive obsolete equipment.

A multilevel security architecture allows secure trusted and tamper-proof communications between multiple domains with different security classifications.

Gareth Evans, MD at Rohde & Schwarz Australia, highlighted: ‘The system they’ve integrated into Cape Otway is the first multi-level security NAVICS system to have completed this level of operational preparedness anywhere in the world.'

Austal is the prime contractor providing shipbuilding expertise, manufacturing work and testing the vessels following the installation of NAVICS.

A total of six vessels will be built under the contract announced in May 2020. The delivery of the first boat was initially expected for September 2021, while the final boat will be handed over by mid-2023.

According to Shephard Defence Insight, the contract is worth A$324 million ($238 million), and it will take the total Cape-class vessels between the Border Guard and navy to 16.

This story was amended on 25 March to highlight Austal's role as prime contractor.

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