Defence awards AU$57m supercomputer contract to Hansen Yuncken

Construction of the supercomputer will begin by the end of the month.

The Department of Defence has awarded South Australian-based company Hansen Yuncken a whopping AU$57 million contract to build its new supercomputer centre in Edinburgh, South Australia.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the decision to choose a local company will mean jobs for local sub-contractors and workers.

"Under the Morrison Government's Defence Policy for Industry Participation, Hansen Yuncken will use local contractors for 94% of its total construction sub-contract packages," she said.

"We want to make sure it is the local community that benefits when Defence engages contractors for these large projects."

The total cost of the build will be AU$68 million.

A Defence spokesperson told ZDNet that the remaining AU$11 million would be used to cover "other project contracts".

"The remaining $11 million is required for other project contracts including management and design fees, information and communications technology equipment (excluding the high performance computing equipment), as well as provision for project construction risk," the spokesperson said.

See also: Photos: The world's 25 fastest supercomputers (TechRepublic)  

Construction of the new facility is scheduled to commence later this month and is due for completion in late 2020.

Price said when completed, the supercomputer facility would support advanced research, development, modelling, and experimentation across Defence.

In October, Defence put a call out to industry to help it modernise its existing capabilities to support current and future military and business operations across air, land, and marine environments.

Defence noted the procurement would deliver on six specific outcomes. These include enabling Defence to focus on core operations while governing sustainment activities; engaging with partners that complement its capability gaps with frameworks and governance models; delivering partner-led solutions; delivering interoperable solutions that facilitate combined operations; offering adaptable and scalable services; and ensuring expertise is shared and maintained.

Central to this strategy, according to Defence, would be the shifting of multiple services including design and architecture, hardware and software, support arrangements, and delivery mechanisms, into a single network.

Defence confirmed in its annual report [PDF] that it was part-way through its IT infrastructure transformation program. It added that the agency's chief information officer Stephen Pearson was in the process of addressing any disruptions experienced by the agency during the program.

"While individually these programs have delivered a significant upgrade to Defence's aging infrastructure and systems, the complexity and scale of this work with multiple programs being undertaken concurrently, has resulted in some recent unplanned service disruptions within the Defence Network," the report said.

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