• HMAS Newcastle undertaking deperming at the Magnetic Treatment Facility at Fleet Base West. Credit: Defence
    HMAS Newcastle undertaking deperming at the Magnetic Treatment Facility at Fleet Base West. Credit: Defence

Australian marine technology firm AMOG Ventures and French naval technology specialist ECA Robotics have formed a Melbourne-based joint venture company to pursue a RAN contract worth up to $100 million.

The birth of the new 50:50 joint venture company, Advanced Magnetic Ranges Australia (AMRA), was witnessed by Victorian Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula and the French government’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) representative for the Future Submarines, General Yannick Cailliez.

AMRA will bid for the RAN’s forthcoming project Sea 1350, worth between $50 and $100 million dollars, to develop a new magnetic treatment facility for the Navy. This will see Australia’s existing and new submarines and surface ships undergo a pre-deployment process called deperming, which reduces or eliminates the magnetism of a steel hull and to aid stealth, preventing it triggering magnetic mines or attracting certain types of torpedo. All warships and submarines must undergo this process periodically.

The traditional deperming process sees the entire body of a ship or submarine wrapped in a massive wire coil. Electricity is then passed through the coil to reduce the magnetic ‘signature’ of the vessel - a process that can take several days.

The AMRA approach uses wire coils laid down on the sea bed, through which a specific current form is passed, as the vessel moves over the coils. This ‘over-run’ process takes less than one day and therefore provides a significant operational advantage when compared to the traditional wrapping, which can take up to 10 days.

If successful, AMRA would install the new deperming system at Fleet Base West.

The two companies, along with Victoria-based THYCON Industrial, had previously signed a preliminary Memorandum of Understanding at the Euronaval 2018 show in Paris.

“It is great to see Victorian-based company AMOG Ventures joining forces with French company ECA Robotics to establish this new joint-venture, which we are delighted will be based here in Victoria," Minister Pakula said.

“Advanced Magnetic Ranges Australia will leverage the cutting-edge capability of Victoria’s defence supply chain to bid for projects such as the ADF’s Sea 1350 Magnetic Treatment Facility. This is a great collaborative model that will help set them apart from competitors as they bid for future domestic and global maritime projects.”

“Our innovative solution to the continuous challenge of deperming is based on a tried, tested, and approved method of demagnetizing ships and submarines,” Phillipe Novelli, Chief Commercial Officer of ECA Robotics, said.

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