A Pakenham-based defence supplier has won an historic $35 million contract to refurbish and upgrade the Australian Defence Force’s helmets.
Aquaterro, which recently moved from Dandenong to Pakenham, was announced as the winner of the contract on Tuesday 27 July.
The five-year deal with Aquaterro will create 10 highly skilled, technical jobs at the company.
It is the first time the tiered combat helmet built by United States company Team Wendy has been refurbished outside the US.
The helmet provides the men and women of the Australian Defence Force with protection against ballistic, fragmentation and blunt force trauma, incorporating a ballistic protection shell, suspension and retention systems, and accessory mounts and rails.
In a statement, Aquaterro said the contract to refurbish the helmets reflected the confidence that the Federal Government has in Aquaterro’s capabilities.
“As a leading provider of soldier and officer worn and carried equipment, Aquaterro is steadfast in its continual strategic investment in product design, development, testing and production capabilities,” the statement read.
“Aquaterro’s commitment to investment in these critical capabilities continues to be evident through its significant expansion across multiple fronts, including recruitment of technical specialists and investment in dedicated infrastructure for the future, long-term commitment of Self-Protection Personal Equipment research and development.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price congratulated Aquaterro for winning the contract, which has seen it establish Australia’s first combat helmet refurbishment and upgrade program.
“This program will extend the life of the Australian Defence Force’s existing fleet of tiered combat helmets by five years, and most importantly, will ensure our soldiers are protected on operations,” Ms Price said.
“Companies like Aquaterro are building robust domestic supply chains that we can rely on.
“Aquaterro’s work in establishing this program will help ensure the ADF has the best available capability to defend Australia and its national interests.”
And Aquaterro has wasted no time in getting to work; with the majority of required spare parts manufactured in Australia, work on the helmets started in July at Aquaterro’s purpose-built facility in Pakenham.
Also this month, Aquaterro officially announced the completion of ‘Building 2’ of its Aquaterro Defence Precinct in Pakenham.
This dedicated Integrated Soldier Systems Centre on over 3000m2 of industrial land is adjacent to the company’s 6500m2 headquarters, which will accommodate the Armour Technical Inspection and Refurbishment Workshop.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison toured Aquaterro’s headquarters in May where he was among the first to see the new Combat Ballistic Helmet Technical Inspection and Refurbishment process, now operating within Building 2.
Member for La Trobe Jason Wood welcomed the contract signing.
“This major contract should give Aquaterro the confidence to invest in its business in the future, while importantly supporting local jobs throughout La Trobe,” he said.