Major contract for Rheinmetall: Australian Navy orders MASS ship protection systems worth €125 million

Nathan Poyner, Managing Director of Rheinmetall
Nathan Poyner, Managing Director of Rheinmetall

Rheinmetall has won an important order in the maritime protection systems domain. The Royal Australian Navy and the Commonwealth of Australia have ordered the Multi Ammunition Softkill System, or MASS, which will initially be used to equip its Hobart-class destroyers and ANZAC-class frigates. Following extensive trials, MASS was selected on account of its unique capabilities. For Rheinmetall, the order represents €125 million in sales.

The first systems are to be delivered by the end of 2023, with full operational capability achieved by 2027. This is the Group’s single-biggest order ever for ship protection technology. Total sales volume could potentially come to A$1 billion (approximately €610 million), as the contract includes an option for equipping Australia’s entire fleet. 

What exactly do Rheinmetall‘s MASS systems do?

The MASS protects ships and boats from multifaceted threats from anti-ship guided missiles and laser-guided weapons – on the high seas, in littoral waters and on rivers. Offering unique protection against modern sensor-guided missiles in all relevant wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, MASS can be installed on vessels of all sizes and integrated into existing shipboard command and weapon engagement systems or operate as a standalone.

In the standard version, Multi Ammunition Softkill System consists of up to six trainable launchers, each of which can fire up to 32 Omni Trap decoy munitions. Rheinmetall continues to perfect its tried-and-tested MASS family, assuring that in future, too, ships and their crews will have the best possible protection when operating on the high seas and in coastal waters. 

Since the contract entails the transfer of MASS technology, Rheinmetall Defence Australia will be able to produce the systems under licence, before installing and commissioning them onboard Australia’s seagoing surface combatants. The MASS systems ordered by the Royal Australian Navy will be assembled at its MILVEHCOE centre of excellence for military vehicles.

This will result in new possibilities for expanding the Group’s Australian supply chain. MASS offers potential partners in the Australian defence sector the chance to cooperate with Rheinmetall and the Royal Australian Navy in realizing this important defensive capability.

What does the transaction mean for Rheinmetall?

“The order underscores once again the great effectiveness of MASS. Australia is now the 16th user nation. We continue to work closely with our colleagues at Rheinmetall Defence Australia, who are responsible for production in country. The largest possible share of value added will thus be generated in Australia, a major plus for the customer,” explains Martin Fegg, Product Manager for Softkill Protection Systems at Rheinmetall Waffe Munition.

“Since its the first naval contract awarded to Rheinmetall makes it a significant milestone as the company grows its local industrial footprint with further advanced assembly and training system capabilities in Australia. Rheinmetall is committed to building Australian Industry Capability and creating advanced manufacturing Australian jobs in trades including Mechanical, Electrical, Ammunition and Software,” said Nathan Poyner, MD of Rheinmetall.

“Our alliance with the Royal Australian Navy is a key element of our long-term investment in Australia’s Defence capability, and we are proud to be part of the government’s work to develop a robust, sustainable, and globally competitive defence industry,” said Poyner.