29 November 2011

Three More Projects Approved

29 November 2011

Battlespace Communication System concept (all images : AustralianSpace)

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the Government has given approval for three major Defence capability projects.

This brings to 35 the number of first pass, second pass and other approvals for major projects in 2011, worth a total of around $6 billion.

The three projects are:

Combined pass approval for improved Battlespace Communications Systems, including purchase of around 11,000 new digital radios for ground forces (Project JOINT 2072 Phase 2A);

First pass approval for the lead-in fighter capability assurance program which will provide enhanced training systems to provide Air Force pilots with the capabilities they need to allow training for current and future combat aircraft (Project AIR 5438 Phase 1A); and

First pass approval for a new fixed-site Air Traffic Management and Control System which will replace existing radars and command and control systems which are reaching their life of type (Project AIR 5431 Phases 2 and 3).

These combined approvals are estimated to involve expenditure of around $500 million and when complete the projects are likely to represent a commitment to Australia’s national security by Government of up to $1.2 billion.

Battlespace Communications

The Government has provided combined first and second pass approval for Phase 2A of the Battlespace Communications System (Land) project and approved funding of around $450 million.

JOINT Project 2072 is a multi-phased project to provide an enhanced digital communications capability for the Australian Defence Force, primarily for the Army.

Phase 2A will deliver around 11,000 digital combat net radios that will replace existing analogue equipment and builds on approvals that Government provided for Phase 1 of the project in 2009.

The Phase 1 contractor, Harris Corporation, will be engaged for the provision of Phase 2A radios.

Lead-in-Fighter

The Government has provided first pass approval for Phase 1A of the Lead-In Fighter Capability Assurance Program (Project AIR 5438).

This project will upgrade Air Force’s capability to produce aircrew with the necessary skills to operate current RAAF combat aircraft, like the F/A-18 Classic and Super Hornet fleets as well as the future combat aircraft, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

The Government has approved funding of $43 million for Defence to develop options and conduct risk mitigation activities prior to Government approval at second pass, presently scheduled for 2013-14.

The total cost of Project AIR 5438 is identified in the Public Defence Capability Plan as being between $100 and $300 million.

Air Traffic Management and Control System

The Government has provided first pass approval for Phases 2 and 3 of the Air Traffic Management and Control Systems project.

This project will deliver replacement surveillance radars, and tower and approach automation systems for the current systems which are approaching the end of their life of type.

A key feature of the project will be to enhance interoperability between military and civil air traffic management systems, as announced in the 2009 ‘National Aviation Policy White Paper – Flight Path to the Future’.

The Government has approved funding of $6.9 million for capability development activities, prior to second pass, which is scheduled for 2013-2014. The total cost of Project AIR 5431 Phase 2/3 is identified in the Public Defence Capability Plan as being between $300 to $500 million.

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