Reflecting on our naval heritage

Thirty years ago, the Royal Australian Navy took a brave step choosing a Swedish combat management system for its new ANZAC class frigates.

How brave can be judged by the fact that, at the time, the only combat system the RAN had any experience with was the US Naval Combat Data System on the DDG and FFG class warships.

HMAS Anzac by CPOIS Damian Pawlenko

Image courtesy © Commonwealth of Australia 2015

 

Clearly, Sweden had a compelling message. Not only were they willing to transfer their combat system technology but all future development would occur in Australia. Whether Royal Australian Navy recognised it or not, the reality is this was the birth of Australia’s first local developed combat management system (CMS).

Over the next 30 years the RAN worked closely with Saab, developing, upgrading and enhancing the system to meet growing operational needs. Throughout the process Saab fostered a skills migration and technology transition, building a local in-country specialist capability for all future work, to its subsidiary Saab Australia. The culmination of this technology transfer has been the development of the 9LV Mk3E CMS for the highly successful ANZAC Anti- Ship Missile Defence upgrade. In every sense, this CMS is unique to Australia, having been developed by Australians for Australian requirements.

Why is this so important? Well it means Australia can quickly modify, update and customise every aspect of the CMS to meet our tactical doctrine, operational needs and preferences. We can make changes we don’t want other countries, even our allies, to know about. We are not locked into exorbitantly expensive US Foreign Military Sale cases with huge lead times and costs for any ‘baseline’ customisation.

The RAN should be proud of the work they’ve invested in their Mk3E CMS. Thousands of hours have been spent refining requirements, testing and evaluating this world-class capability. ANZAC now has the most effective Anti-Ship Missile Defence system in the world, which will form the core capability of the future frigate.

Our vision is to take all this wonderful work and evolve it even further to meet next generation threats and challenges. The 9LV CMS is a proven, fully open architecture system that is adaptable and capable of being integrated with any projected new defensive or offensive systems for the SEA 5000 future frigate.