Indian Navy purchases Australian minesweeping suites

August 20th, 2008 - 5:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Aug 20 (IANS) The Indian Navy has purchased sophisticated Australian minesweeping suites that will qualitatively enhance its ships’ protection from underwater objects.Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon said in a statement Tuesday that the sale to India was the single largest overseas order for the Australian Minesweeping System (AMS) since it was first exported in 1992.

AMS is described as the world’s first operational sweep that emulates the magnetic signals of ships. This causes sea mines to detonate prematurely and safely out of the range of target vessels.

The size of the deal was not revealed, except that AMS manufacturer Thales Australia presented the minister with a cheque of Australian $514,358 in royalties for the sale.

“The information on how many pieces of kit were sold is classified by the Indian Navy. The contract was signed in March 2007 and the equipment was supplied recently,” Defence Science Communications Director Jimmy Hafesjee told IANS.

According to a Thales Australia spokesman, AMS was developed by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and is manufactured and sold by Thales Australia.

“DSTO and Thales collaborate on improvements to the technology to meet current and emerging threat from sea mines,” the spokesman added.

The system is also in service with the navies of Denmark, Indonesia, Japan, Poland, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and the US.

This has translated into royalties of over Australian 3 million for the country’s defence ministry.

“The continuous improvement of the minesweeping technology reinforces Australia’s reputation for technology innovation,” minister Snowdon noted.

The AMS system was deployed operationally during the 2003 Gulf War when it was used by the Royal Navy to clear mines from the port of Umm Qasr in order to deliver humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people.

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