The Essington Lewis Awards recognise excellence in industry and the Department of Defence collaboration, working together to overcome challenges or problems – ensuring that the ADF has or will have the materiel it needs, when it needs it, and at a cost that represents value for money.

Sadly, this year's awards could not go ahead in-person as initially planned due to pandemic-related restrictions and domestic border closures. However, ADM will announce the award winners on our website and via electronic direct messages on Monday October 18.

Ahead of the announcement, we are running a series of articles on the finalists in each category. Today we are proud to cover the finalists for Major Sustainment - over $20 million: the First of Class upgrade to HMAS Canberra as part of the LHD 5-year Maintenance Program from ACS SPO and NSM Australia; and the Satellite Services contract from PR1272 Satellite Services team and Inmarsat Australia.

The First of Class upgrade to HMAS Canberra as part of the LHD 5-year Maintenance Program from ACS SPO and NSM Australia

Sustainment of the two Canberra class LHDs is the responsibility of the LHD Enterprise – a collaboration between the Commonwealth (Amphibious Combat and Sealift Systems Program Office, Amphibious and Afloat Support Force Element Group, and the Fleet Support Unit); Naval Ship Management (NSM) as the Asset Class Prime Contractor; and Navantia Australia, L3Harris and Saab Australia as Industry Enterprise Participants.

The first of class upgrade for HMAS Canberra was one of the most complex docking of a warship ever undertaken in Australia.

The most important upgrade was the installation of two 120 tonne propulsion pods, combined worth $32.5m. The support structures designed and constructed in Australia included A-frames and double beams to support the weight of the propellers and pods during installation, and auxiliary cradles designed to support the bulkier propellers.

Overall, the docking required 746 tasks across more than 50 systems to be completed within 16 weeks and was made all the more complicated by the pandemic. Nonetheless, the project was delivered on budget and on time, meeting all internal and external milestones.

The Satellite Services contract from PR1272 Satellite Services team and Inmarsat Australia

Contract PR1272 with Inmarsat Australia supports over 1700 terminals Defence-wide, a number continually growing as new warfighting capabilities are delivered.

An analysis conducted by CIOG's Satellite Operations (SATOPS) of emerging and future requirements identified that nearly every ADF platform had a reliance on commercial satcoms. Additionally, SATOPS identified an operational need for both rapid acquisition of niche technology and greater control over Defence’s commercial satcoms use.

These requirements, combined with Defence’s emerging obligations to other government departments, resulted in the proposal for new contract provisions alongside a seven-year extension.

The Inmarsat and Commonwealth teams collaboratively established a schedule to ensure that all approvals would be obtained prior to expiry of the current contract. Through meticulously planned and executed round-table negotiations, the Inmarsat and Defence teams delivered the required contract amendment with a significant reduction in cost ahead of the agreed schedule.

This was completed and approved before the end-of-year reduced tempo period, allowing the final contract to be executed prior to the end of the existing contract.

The contract includes the cost-sharing development and sustainment of the Operational Monitoring and Control Support (OMCS), a situational awareness and control tool for all Defence commercial satcom terminals connected to the Inmarsat network. This world-first software package allows Defence to tailor services delivered to deployed users in real-time, enabling rapid response to meet dynamic operational requirements.

Congratulations to both finalists and we look forward to announcing a winner on October 18.


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