Babcock awarded key High Frequency Communications contract

Babcock International, the Aerospace and Defence company, is set to become a leading provider of High Frequency (HF) radio communications services to New Zealand and its international ‘Five Eyes’ allies following the awarding of a key contract.   

Babcock’s experts will deliver critical equipment replacements to support the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) over the near term, with an extensive customer through-life support programme forming the remainder of the contract. Initially worth $30.6 million NZD (£14.9 million) to Babcock, the new HF system is expected to be operational by August 2023.

“This is one of a number of planned investments from the Defence Capability Plan 2019 that will strengthen our national resilience,” said New Zealand Defence Minister Ron Mark.

“High frequency radio provides communications coverage in places that satellites cannot reach and where ordinary radio communications will not work. It is also a back-up system if satellite communications fail, are disrupted or are unavailable.

“Our service women and men rely on communications to undertake the tasks required of them, whether it be humanitarian, constabulary or military operations. In undertaking these tasks, they operate in some of the most remote regions on the planet, from deep in the Southern Ocean to the vastness of the Pacific.

“This is an investment in our communities. Defence’s HF radio system will support emergency services, enabling them to maintain communications during crises. The current HF radio infrastructure was installed in the 1980s and has reached the end of its life.”

Babcock Australasia CEO, David Ruff, said the contract represents a major milestone for Babcock as a world-leading, trusted provider of High Frequency communication technology.  

“This contract leverages our long-standing, 18 year track record in the UK, where Babcock has been providing a Defence High Frequency Communications Service to the UK Ministry of Defence,” Ruff says. “Babcock will now provide its specialist technology and know-how to New Zealand as a key Five Eyes partner.”

“The contract confirms Babcock’s position as a trusted, reliable provider of Defence High Frequency Communications, ahead of similar future bids for global customers including the Commonwealth of Australia.”

“The contract reinforces Babcock’s long-standing commitment in New Zealand, building upon its role as the nation’s strategic maritime partner, sustaining the Royal New Zealand Navy, as well as its strategic partnership managing the ground assets of the national flag-carrier, Air New Zealand.”

The Five Eyes alliance includes New Zealand, Australia, the UK, the United States and Canada, enabling their sharing of data and information.