Australia has awarded US defense contractor L3Harris a $210-million contract to develop an underwater tracking capability that relays data on the location and movement of assets operating within the tracking field.
The Maritime Underwater Tracking Ranges (MUTR) kicks off Australia’s SEA1350 MUTR Phase 3 Program, which will provide subsurface support for the Royal Australian Navy.
The program aids the Australian Defence Force with its tracking and communication capabilities through a number of fixed and portable acoustic sensors that detect underwater movement.
Western Australia will be the base of the ranges, enabling littoral tests and evaluation enhancements of the country’s surface and sub-surface assets and tracking systems in the Indo-Pacific region.
Preparing for the Future
The contract comes as Australia pushes to bolster its underwater capabilities and optimize sub-surface preparedness through the next decade.
L3Harris Corporate Vice President and Australia Country Executive Alan Clements said that the ranges are integral to test Australia’s readiness of platforms and weapon systems, especially with its shipbuilding program.
“This is an important competence now and into the future as we continue to modernize and enhance maritime platforms and systems,” he stated.
The program will also enable sovereign readiness, protecting Australia’s maritime approaches and sea lines of communication.
Part of Australia’s underwater modernization efforts, the MUTR will replace the country’s original tracking range system, which ceased operating in 2012.
Former Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds described its rehabilitation in 2020 as a technological investment that enables the country’s submarines and maritime warfighting capabilities to “operate with superiority while protecting Australia’s interests.”