AMOG Ventures Pty Limited (AMOG) and French naval technology specialist ECA Robotics (ECA) have formed a Melbourne-based Joint Venture company to pursue a Royal Australian Navy contract worth up to $100 million. The birth of the new 50:50 joint venture company, Advanced Magnetic Ranges Australia Pty Limited (AMRA), was witnessed by Victorian Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade, The Hon Martin Pakula MP, and the French government’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) representative here in Australia for the RAN’s submarine project, SEA1000, General Yannick Cailliez.

The two companies, along with Victoria-based THYCON Industrial Pty Limited (THYCON), had previously signed a preliminary Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Euronaval 2018 show in Paris.

Minister Pakula has said, “It is great to see Victorian-based company AMOG Ventures joining forces with French company ECA Robotics to establish this new joint-venture, which we are delighted will be based here in Victoria.

“Advanced Magnetic Ranges Australia will leverage the cutting-edge capability of Victoria’s defence supply chain to bid for projects such as the Australian Defence Force’s SEA 1350 Magnetic Treatment Facility. This is a great collaborative model that will help set them apart from competitors as they bid for future domestic and global maritime projects.”

AMRA will bid for the RAN’s forthcoming Project SEA 1350, to develop a new Magnetic Treatment facility for the Navy. This will see Australia’s existing and new submarines and surface ships undergo a vital pre-deployment process called deperming, which reduces or eliminates the magnetism of a steel hull and so aids its stealth, preventing it triggering magnetic mines or attracting certain types of torpedo. All warships and submarines must undergo this process periodically. The traditional deperming process sees the entire body of a ship or submarine wrapped in a massive wire coil. Electricity is then passed through the coil to reduce the magnetic ‘signature’ of the vessel - a painstaking process that can take several days. The innovative AMRA approach uses wire coils laid down on the sea bed through which a specific current form is passed as the vessel moves over the coils. This ‘over-run’ process takes less than one day and therefore provides a significant operational advantage when compared to the traditional wrapping, which can take up to 10 days.

“Our innovative solution to the continuous challenge of deperming is based on a tried, tested, and approved method of demagnetizing ships and submarines,” said Mr Philippe Novelli, Chief Commercial Officer of ECA Robotics.

“An important portfolio of military service expertise will be transferred from France to Australia. Today, ECA is a leading designer, manufacturer and operator of equipment for the submarine and sub-surface technology markets. Our proven and innovative ‘over-run’ solution can save the Commonwealth a great deal of time and money while keeping their military capacity, ships and crews safe. This know-how will become an Australian competency which could be exported to other countries.”

Project SEA 1350 is worth between $50 and $100 million dollars and will replace an existing deperming facility used by the RAN; if successful, AMRA would install the new deperming system at Fleet Base West. A key sub-contractor and Australia’s leading manufacturer of power quality and conversion solutions, THYCON, also based in Melbourne, will perform the electrical design and manufacturing. Wherever possible, Australian companies will be used in the design, construction and maintenance of the range. AMOG, which has extensive experience in the offshore oil and gas industry, will carry out the underwater system design; ECA provides the design expertise and Intellectual Property, and AADI Defence will assist in customer relations. Mr Ben Clark of AMOG Ventures and Mr Philippe Novelli of ECA Robotics signed the agreement at the Coburg North premises of THYCON yesterday (2nd April 2019).



What is Deperming?

In the Defence environment, stealth is paramount. Deperming systems reduce the risk of magnetic sensors detecting the steel hulls of both surface ships and submarines. Deperming cancels magnetisation by passing an electric current through coils arranged around the hull to alter the magnetic signature of the vessel and helps protect vessels by acting as a form of camouflage from electro-magnetic detection, and as a precaution against magnetic mines.

The deperming system proposed by Advanced Magnetic Ranges Australia Pty Limited (AMRA) simplifies this laborious process significantly and reduces the time required from as much as ten days to about one day. It is an ‘over-run’ treatment range for submarines and surface ships with:

  • Magnetic treatment of both submarines and frigates
  • Fast treatment time
  • High precision of measurement and treatment
  • On-board Degaussing system calibration and checking
  • Low maintenance needs
  • Overrun stations that operate without any cable-wrapping operations – Reduced manual handling
  • Treatment loop and sensors that can be fixed so displacement-related damages are avoided and maintenance is reduced.

Ship trajectory over the underwater coils is determined with DGPS receivers and visualised with MapsDRS software modules. The over-run treatment range can be combined with the RAN’s existing multi-influence range that is designed to detect and measure a variety of other ‘signatures’: acoustic, magnetic, electric, and pressure. ECA Group manufactures deperming systems for the French Navy and is installing a similar over-run range for another South East Asian Navy.


About ECA Group

ECA Robotics is part of the Toulon-based ECA Group which is renowned for its expertise in robotics, automated systems, simulation and industrial processes. Founded in 1936, it has been developing complete innovative technological solutions to perform complex missions in hostile or restrictive environments. Its products are used by a demanding international clientele requiring the highest levels of safety and efficiency, mainly in the sectors of defence, maritime, aerospace, simulation, energy and industrial equipment. The Group has always been at the forefront of innovation and has built up the trust of its customers around the world thanks to the reliability and performance of its solutions, at minimum cost. Right now, its Research and Technology teams are imagining robotics systems for the year 2020, to meet its customers’ needs even more effectively. “Two of our strongest commitments are to innovate to find efficient and reliable solutions, and to support our customers when they operate our technical solutions” underlines Raphaël Gorgé, Chairman of the ECA Group. This commitment to reliability and efficiency is put into operation by all the men and women of the ECA Group. It is summed up by the group’s slogan: Make Sure.

About THYCON Industrial Pty Ltd

Established in 1968, THYCON is a highly experienced and specialised Australian manufacturer of power electronics solutions for critical applications in the defence, rail, industrial, resource and commercial sectors. THYCON power quality and conversion solutions include UPS systems, airfield runway lighting, regulators, frequency converters as well as contract manufacturing and testing services. With offices across Australia THYCON’s activities cover research and development, transformer and power electronics equipment manufacturing, product testing, turnkey project delivery and lifetime service support including on-going maintenance, audits and product upgrades. In 2016, THYCON won the prestigious Victorian Manufacturer of the Year Award. THYCON is a major supplier of Defence infrastructure equipment, with our systems being found at the majority of Defence bases.

About AADI Defence

AADI Defence is a Ventures company consisting of former Defence chiefs and military leaders, scientists and technologists, commercialisation experts, and experienced project managers. They can assist the development of innovative new technologies, as well as engage key stakeholders within industry and Government.