WASHINGTON ― The U.S. State Department has cleared Australia to purchase long-lead equipment for integrating its CEAFAR 2 phased array radar system with the Aegis combat system, with a potential price tag of $185 million.
Australia seeks to add nine Aegis-capable Future Frigates over the next 20 years, while upgrading its three existing Aegis-capable Hobart-class destroyers, per an announcement by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
“This sale enhances Australia’s self-defense capability, while significantly improving interoperability with U.S. Navy AEGIS combatants in the region,” the notification reads. “By deploying a surface combatant fleet that will incorporate Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), Australia will significantly improve network-centric warfare capability for U.S. forces operating in the region.”
Designed by Australian company CEA, the CEAFAR radar is a modular phased array radar system already in use by the Royal Australian Navy. The goal of this equipment package is to get everything aligned between the radar and the Aegis weapon systems going on the new frigates.
Included in the package are a number of Aegis-related equipment, including “Command Display System (CDS) Consoles (including 2 consoles in Gun Weapon System configuration); Multi-Mission Display (MMD) systems, including projectors, sensors and cameras; Tactical Equivalent Core Computing System (CCS) Cabinets; Tactical Equivalent AEGIS LAN Interconnect System (ALIS) Cabinets; Tactical Equivalent AEGIS Conversion Equipment Group Input/Output (ACEG I/0) Cabinets; Tactical Equivalent Advanced Storage Area Network (ASAN) Cabinets; Global Command and Control System - Maritime (GCCS-M); Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) sites systems, to include processing rack, simulation equipment and workstation; AN/SPQ-15 Converter/Receiver and /signal data converter equipment; Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DIVDS) cabinet; AN/SQQ-89 Sonobouy Processing Core Computing System racks, with console and laptop; AEGIS simulator racks and workstations; AEGIS Training System; and various ancillary equipment and support products, including desktop computers, displays, test units and compilations servers, printers, workstations, spares, cabling and software licenses.”
Technical assistance is also requested. Primary work will occur at the Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems facility in Moorestown, New Jersey.
Being cleared by the State Department does not guarantee a sale will be completed. Congress can still intervene, and final price and quantity are often altered during negotiations. The proposed sale is being handled under a Foreign Military Sales vehicle.
This is the second Aegis-related FMS notification in as many days. On Tuesday, a notification that Spain is seeking to buy 5 Aegis weapon systems, potentially worth $860.4 million, was released.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.