Case studies

Landing Helicopter Dock Sustainment Project

Department of Defence — Defence Materiel Organisation (public sector)

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Key Personnel


November 2013July 2014

Ensuring that Australia benefited from new technology and assets.


The Landing Helicopter Docks are the largest ships ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy. The project was very complex due to the size, value, and first of class nature of the ships. The sustainment arrangements will be vital in ensuring that Australia benefits from the huge capability potential offered by these strategically important new assets.


The Landing Helicopter Dock Systems Project Office (LHDSPO) has been established to put in place sustainment arrangements for the Royal Australian Navy’s largest ever ships, the $3b HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide, and 12 landing craft. The sustainment arrangements include multiple high-value contracts for the provision of sustainment services including maintenance, asset management, supply management, and design services.

Proximity displayed exemplary commitment and outstanding skill and acumen”.

Involvement – the task

Proximity was engaged as part of the procurement and contracting support team. Proximity played a fundamental part in the team and was the lead for significant elements of the work. James Dunn and Sean King (Directors of Proximity) were both embedded on a full-time basis in LHDSPO at the DMO’s Canberra Offices for this significant engagement that continued for more than 18 months.


Proximity worked closely with other specialists in the LHDSPO team, including the project director, commercial director, chief contracting officer and the engineering, financial, legal and probity advisors. Proximity provided a broad range of procurement and commercial services for each of the core procurements within the sustainment program. Proximity worked very effectively as part of an integrated team.

The quality of service was consistently excellent. Proximity provided well-considered and practical advice, and worked hard to achieve the best outcome for the Commonwealth.

The outcome

Lessons and achievements

The assistance resulted in the following achievements:

  • The successful design, development and conduct of several procurement processes for multiple sustainment contracts, including integration of the contracts
  • The successful management of third party intellectual property throughout the procurement processes
  • The successful negotiation and execution of the key Capability Support Coordinator Contract.

Lessons included the importance of:

  • Early planning to identify the split of responsibilities between the different sustainment contractors
  • Properly managing the flow of intellectual property to tenderers and contractors
  • Contract mechanisms to provide flexibility in service volume and timing.

What we did

  • Assisted DMO with its procurement strategy
  • Prepared request for tender, request for information and other market testing documentation for numerous procurements
  • Provided advice on intellectual property management and licensing, including developing and negotiating numerous intellectual property licence agreements with suppliers and designing the approach to market processes to ensure the protection of third party intellectual property
  • Established tender evaluation teams and conducting large scale evaluation on the commercial elements of tenders
  • Developed evaluation reports and presenting outcomes to numerous stakeholders and senior executives
  • Planned for contract negotiations including developing contract negotiation directives that identify the negotiation strategy and negotiation positions
  • Performed the role of lead negotiator for the capability support coordinator contract, which included negotiating the contract terms and conditions, service requirements, performance management regime and pricing regime.

Types of work used for the project


Intellectual Property



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