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AUSTRALIA BUYS COMBAT SYSTEM

13 Sep 02. Australia said on Friday it had struck a A$400m ($220m) deal with the U.S. Navy to buy a replacement combat system for its trouble-prone submarines. The replacement system is based on the Raytheon Co (NYSE:RTN – News) command and control system.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said the new system would be based on the U.S. defense contractor’s CCS Mark II tactical command and control system currently being used by the U.S. navy.

In July 2001, Australia abandoned the tender process to build a combat system for its A$5.0bn fleet of six Collins Class submarines, opting instead to work with the U.S. navy to develop a new system. The combat system, identified three years ago as the submarines’ major weakness, is one of the last major components needed to make the Australian-built submarines battle ready.

Hill said Australia was also preparing to sign a capability agreement with Electric Boat Corp, a unit of U.S.-based General Dynamics Corp (NYSE:GD – News), for technical and commercial support to the government-owned Australian Submarine Corp. “Defence will now proceed with detailed negotiations, with the new systems to be introduced as soon as possible,” Hill said in a statement.

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