The Department of Defence has stepped into phase four of a major project aimed at upgrading the network and cryptographic capabilities of the Navy's ANZAC and Adelaide Class frigates.
The multi-phase refit was estimated to be worth between $300 million and $500 million.
About 150 prospective industry suppliers representing some 35 companies packed a meeting in Canberra this week for further detail on phase four of the project, which focused on the supply of mission and associated support systems.
The ships required systems with high data rate line-of-sight capabilities; an upgraded radio system to support wideband networked communications; a training system at Fleet Base West; and a Shore Integration and Test Facility.
Program director Guna Gounder expected contractors to offer a mix of commercial-off-the-shelf and military-off-the-shelf products.
Gounder said Defence wanted systems that minimised power consumption, weight and space.
The tender covered two contracts - one for the supply and installation of equipment and the other for maintenance, engineering, training and related support services.
Defence wanted a single supplier responsible for both contracts.
Gounder said the request for tenders for phase four work had attracted considerable interest from several overseas suppliers.
Industry insiders spoken to by iTnews expected Thales Australia to be a strong contender for phase four work. Thales won phase three back in 2006.
Other companies thought to be frontrunners included Raytheon Australia.
Tender applications for phase four closed July 18. The winner was expected to be announced in the fourth quarter of next year.
The project as a whole - dubbed SEA 1442 - formed the basis of the Networked Fleet - a major milestone in Defence’s Network Centric Warfare (NCW) roadmap.
Final implementation of the network upgrade and support system was estimated between 2020 and 2022.