SAGE Automation has begun building the first of 500 control panels for the Air Warfare Destroyers (AWDs) project in Adelaide under a new $2.6 million, four-year contract with Spanish naval defence company Navantia.
The control panels are a critical component of the AWD’s Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS). The IPMS is a comprehensive control system used on board ships and submarines for the real-time monitoring and control of the vessel’s hull, mechanical, electrical, damage control machinery and systems. The first panels are scheduled for delivery in November this year with the final panels due by June 2014.
SAGE received its first contract order with Navantia this month after signing a Memorandum of Understanding in September last year to become its Australian in-country support agent for the IPMS on the AWD and Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ship projects. “SAGE and Navantia have invested significantly in this partnership and this first contract is an exciting milestone,” SAGE Group managing director Andrew Downs said.
“We are proud and privileged to be the first Australian company to be in contract with Navantia, providing solutions by integrating technology from our high quality Australian supply chain. Given the enormous scope of activity Navantia is carrying out within the defence sector, we see this as just the start of a very productive long-term relationship.”
In January 2006 SAGE began a concerted effort to expand into defence, including undertaking several trips to Spain to meet with Navantia management. “We researched the global market and improved our internal systems to ensure we met the stringent compliance and traceability requirements in the defence sector. We also employed the best people with the highest calibre of technical expertise and defence experience ahead of time,” Downs said.
“SAGE has been able to create global competitive advantage through our ability to provide manpower, resources and in-country support for Australian and international defence companies through the entire life of a project.” As part of its long-term alliance with Navantia, SAGE engineers will travel to Spain in 2011 to visit its ship yards in Ferrol and Cartagena to enable SAGE to undertake a technology transfer to allow it to support the AWD & LHD IPMS platforms in Australia.
Emiliano Matesanz, Contract & Business Development Manager of Navantia Australia, said Navantia was pleased to announce the signing of the contract. “SAGE is a premier supplier of electrical systems having a wide technical and commercial presence in country and therefore complements Navantia’s role as prime contractor for the IPMS of the AWDs and LHDs,” he said. “This subcontract strengthens Navantia’s ties with the local industry, which is one of the key elements of the strong partner relationship developed between Navantia and Australia.”
SAGE has been a supplier to the defence industry for more than five years having started by carrying out upgrades to airfield lighting systems for RAAF airbases across the county. Over time, SAGE’s involvement has expanded into providing engineering services for Chemring Countermeasures for the F35 Joint Strike Fighter project, electrical and mechanical fit out of portable MCRC (Mobile Control and Reporting Centre) shelters for Daronmont Technologies, a wireless load monitoring system for Landcorp in Western Australia for a floating dock for submarines and high compliance work for BAE Systems.
“SAGE has become a committed supplier to the defence sector and the Navantia contract is a strong industry endorsement that will no doubt help us to target further opportunities,” Downs said. “The defence sector is moving from completely custom products to commercial and military off-the-shelf solutions which have been built before and present a lower risk. SAGE is perfectly positioned to meet this demand.”
Founded in 1994, SAGE is an independent systems integration company specialising in industrial control and automation. With offices in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Whyalla, SAGE has developed a national presence employing 260 staff and has a turnover of $50 million.
Navantia is a leader in size and technological capability in the military shipbuilding sector. Navantia has been engaged by the Commonwealth to provide the design for the multi-billion dollar Air Warfare Destroyer and Landing Helicopter Dock ships.