Northrop Grumman, Saab Systems and Tenix Defence Systems have re-established their teaming arrangement for an industry capability partner (ICP) requirement to support the Royal Australian Air Force's planned broad area maritime surveillance (BAMS) unmanned air vehicle acquisition.
BAE Systems and L-3 Communications have also confirmed that they have teamed for the ICP contest, a formal competition that is expected to begin by the end of April. The requirement is also being contested by Boeing Australia, Lockheed Martin Australia and Raytheon Australia.
Canberra plans to acquire the same UAV as that selected by the US Navy under a bilateral co-operation agreement finalised earlier this year (Flight International, 30 January-5 February). The ICP requirement calls for integration of BAMS aircraft and ground control systems into the Australian Defence Force's common intelligence and command-and-control architectures.
The USN is expected to downselect either the Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk or a derivative of the General Atomics MQ-9 Predator B by September this year for the BAMS project. Northrop, Saab and Tenix initially announced the formation of their team in 2005, with this based on an anticipated Australian-only competition for a BAMS-class system.
The revised arrangement is tailored to meet ICP requirements, says Ian Sharp, executive general manager of Tenix's aerospace and defence division. Workshare between the partners "is still fluid" and depends on final ICP tender requirements, he says.
General Atomics says it will not team with Australian-based firms for the ICP requirement, and will instead await the outcome of the competition and the BAMS parent programme before negotiating support arrangements.