An integrated computer-based logistics system developed in Australia for the Navy's fleet of Collins-class submarines holds business potential for specialised system integration companies.
Unveiled last on March 12 at the launch of the fourth sub constructed in Australia, the system has dumped tonnes of paper - equivalent to the weight of three elephants - from each of the subs.
Sub constructor Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) developed the software with ruggedised hardware produced by Digital CSS (Computer Special Systems).
The Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) system, which reduces the time required for some onboard maintenance tasks from several hours to as little as 15 minutes, is also intended to provide the basis for commercialised systems that can be sold to other Australian defence projects as well as overseas.
This commercialisation project, a joint venture between ASC and Digital CSS called Project Agile, has already generated interest in Hong Kong for sales to the Chinese military.
Further sales could be made to large industrial operations such as oil rigs located off Australia's coastline.
Digital's business development manager for Computer Special Systems Chris Sligar, said the joint venture partners were willing to include a third party if they were pursuing a project that required additional expertise not held by ASC or Digital CSS.
"This may be a local partner or a company with complementary technologies that a systems integrator might have," he said.
"For example, and this is totally off the top of my head, this might be a company with expertise in interfacing Digital products with real-time data acquisition systems. If we don't have skills and Sub Corp don't have them; we would look at a third party."
Currently each Collins-class submarine has an "interim" hardware platform - each boat has two Alphas with 266MHzprocessors, 128MB of random access memory and 4GB of hard disk storage - although a finalised platform is likely to include the latest generation of Alpha technology.