Steber involved in $3m govt. defence contract

Steber involved in $3m govt. defence contract

Steber International of Taree is set to benefit from the recent awarding of a $3m Australian Government defence contract for development of an unmanned surface surveillance vessel.

In one of his last acts as outgoing Federal Defence Minister, Kevin Andrews announced that Ocius Technology Limited has been selected in this year’s Capability and Technology Demonstrator Program.

Steber general manager, Alan Steber said the company is providing tooling for all fibreglass components as well as creating new models for tank testing to assist further design and performance refinements.

Commenting on the announcement, Ocius CEO, Dr Robert Dane said: “We are privileged to be awarded this contract and to be working with top navy technology specialists and businesses in Australia”.

“This A$3m contract provides extensive validation of our strategy to draw on proprietary technology for the development of long range, autonomous surveillance and sensing platforms.

Specifically it will allow us to develop a high performance Ocius Bluebottle unmanned surface vessel (USV) coupled with an integrated Thales Australia thin-line towed array sonar system.

“We look forward to working closely with Thales Australia and alongside the universities of Wollongong, Sydney and UNSW, Steber International and Ulladulla Engineering and Fibreglass to demonstrate this world first proof of concept.

“Initially we will be building a longer version of our 2.8m oceanographic ‘Nemo’ USV, known as a ‘Stinger’ with a length of 5.8 metres. Our ultimate aim is to demonstrate a low cost, long range, persistent detection capability that enhances the ability of navy surface forces to detect and track modern submarines and torpedoes at realistic standoff distances”.

Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) is typically conducted either by large platforms such as frigates and submarines fitted with towed arrays, or by airborne assets. This is expensive, commits valuable personnel resources and is limited by the endurance of the platform.

The aim is to produce a proof of concept ASW-USV demonstrator that provides an acoustically covert and persistent ASW sonar capability to be autonomously deployed at tactically significant distances from a task group.

Used as a complementary off-board ASW sensor system, it will enable situational awareness through remote sonar data, thus increasing the threat detection window. This will allow task group/ship command to make more effective tactical decisions to fight the submarine threat, and to provide an effective tool for rapid environment assessment.


Above: Dr Robert Dane and Alan Steber at Steber’s Taree factory with one of the Bluebottle range of USVs.

Below: Former Defence Minister, Kevin Andrews makes the announcement watched by Dr Dane and Chief Defence Scientist, Dr Alex Zelinsky.

Ocius announcement 2015