The Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith MP, and the Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare MP, announced today that the Government has given First Pass Approval for three major Defence capability projects: upgrades to the Anzac class frigates’ electronic support systems; enhancements to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) telecommunications networks; and enhancements to the ADF’s Special Operations vehicles and communications.
These three projects combined are estimated to involve expenditure of between $500 million and around A$1 billion by the time they are complete.
1. Anzac Ship Electronic Support System Upgrade
The Government has agreed to upgrade the Anzac class frigates’ electronic support systems, through Project Sea 1448 Phase 4A, as a complementary capability within the ongoing Anzac anti-ship missile defence program.
Project Sea 1448 Phase 4A is cost capped between $100 million and $300 million. The Government is expected to make a final decision on approval for the project in the period 2012 to 2013.
The electronic support system upgrade will provide the Anzac class frigates with the ability to detect, classify and locate the latest generation of maritime and aircraft radars, as well as the latest anti-ship missiles.
This upgrade will give the Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac class frigates a greater level of operational flexibility within the rapidly increasing complexity of modern radar systems. It will also improve the ability of the frigates to support the Navy’s future Air Warfare Destroyer capability.
2. Enhanced Telecommunications Networks for the ADF
Enhancement of the ADF’s fixed telecommunications networks, to be undertaken through Joint Project 2047 Phase 3, will enhance Defence’s information and communications technology (ICT) services.
Joint Project 2047 Phase 3 is cost capped between $300 million and $500 million. The Government is expected to make a final decision on approval for the project in 2011-2012.
The Defence telecommunications network includes 330 sites in Australia supporting some 100,000 users in Australia and overseas. The project will significantly improve network performance and meet capability requirements into the 2020’s.
3. Enhancements to Special Operations Vehicles and Communications
The Government has also given first pass approval for Joint Project 2097 Phase 1B to enhance the Australian Defence Force’s Special Operations vehicle capability.
The project will deliver a modern fleet of tactical Special Operations Vehicles and will provide significant improvements to the Special Forces’ networked communications.
Joint Project 2097 Phase 1B is cost capped between $100 million and $300 million. The Government is expected to make a final decision on approval for the project in 2013-14.
The enhancements to be delivered under JP 2097 Phase 1B will support the tactical manoeuvre of Special Forces and improve the efficiency of tactical network communications across the full spectrum of Special Operations. The vehicles will be highly mobile and able to be transported in a range of ADF aircraft and ships allowing the ADF’s Special Forces to maintain its capability edge.