Adelaide-based company lights up the Hunter Class Frigate Program

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The culmination of five years of negotiation and networking has seen Australian company REDARC Defence & Space secure a $23 million contract to supply 12,600 LED lights to BAE Systems Australia for the first batch of three Hunter class warships.

According to Managing Director Anthony Kittel, REDARC had been using ICN Gateway to explore options on defence work, including submitting an Expression of Interest in SEA 5000 on BAE Systems Australia’s ICN Gateway project portal in 2016 when the project was still in bid stage.

As part of REDARC’s business development in the defence sector, company representatives met with BAE Systems and UK company MARL International at  the DSEI trade show in the UK in September 2017, facilitated by  Team Defence Australia.

MARL and REDARC began negotiations to determine how they could partner up to meet Commonwealth and BAE Systems’ requirements for sovereign capability, and then developed a joint tender response for the Hunter Class Frigate Program with REDARC as prime contractor.

The contract will see the Adelaide-based company lead the manufacture and delivery of lighting and related parts for the Royal Australian Navy’s anti-submarine warfare frigates.

It provides ongoing work for REDARC and its local supply chain, with the contract for the first three ships extending to 2031.

“There will be one ship every two years, so we will effectively have a drumbeat of continuous defence manufacturing over that time.

“We’ll be bringing local suppliers on to the contract as well. Our intent is to engage locally in Australia.”

BAE Systems Australia Managing Director — Maritime, Craig Lockhart, said the partnership between REDARC Defence & Space and MARL International will lead to Australians manufacturing thousands of lights and related parts for the first batch of three Hunter class frigates.

“We will continue to collaborate closely with the Commonwealth and support the growth of Australian industry capability (AIC) and to that end, we expect that in future ship batches the percentage of Australian content will increase.

“Building AIC generates jobs, local prosperity and know-how, supporting continuous naval shipbuilding for Hunter and beyond.”

REDARC Defence & Space is a wholly owned subsidiary of REDARC Electronics, an Australian, privately-owned, advanced electronics manufacturer established in 1979.

In 2019, the company launched REDARC Defence Systems Pty Ltd (now REDARC Defence & Space Pty Ltd) to meet the growing needs of the Australian Defence market to grow local Defence capabilities.

Since its establishment, REDARC Defence Systems has worked across a range of Defence projects Australia-wide, including LAND 116, LAND 121, Land 19 Phase 7B, and has seen year-on-year growth and now employs more than eighteen staff.

In January 2023, Scott Begbie was appointed to the newly created role of Executive General Manager of REDARC Defence & Space.

“Our continued growth across the Defence and Space sectors is a testament to the increasing requirement for  sovereign capability in Australia. Our team can provide cradle-to-grave support across these critical sectors, specialising in complex electronics and power solutions,”  Scott said.

“Our team is highly motivated by the knowledge that Australian soldiers, sailors and aviators rely on our power systems to keep them safe and give them a competitive edge. We are not only supplying that on a global scale, but are now also engaged in the space sector to provide advanced electronics and testing capabilities, proving that our claim of building things tough remains critical to our success.”

The recent rebrand to Defence & Space recognises the range of work REDARC now does supporting the Space domain in the Defence and commercial sectors.

“There are some really good opportunities in Australia. We were working with a number of different space companies, and we’re part of ADISCA, the Australian Defence Space Industry Capability Alliance.

“It’s taking the skills that we’ve learned from defence and applying them to a different market, which allows us to explore new opportunities.

“We view our contribution to design, manufacture, sustain and support as critical to the capabilities the Australian Defence Force requires.”

For more information on REDARC, go to the company website; to find out more about the Hunter Class Frigate Program, go to the BAE Systems website.


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