Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today provided an update on the delivery of two important new capabilities to protect and support Australian troops in Afghanistan.
New Counter Rocket Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) radars
Two new Counter Rocket Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) Giraffe radars have been accepted by Defence for operations in Afghanistan.
The new radars will replace an existing leased radar and will be integrated seamlessly into the existing C-RAM network at the Tarin Kot base.
The existing C-RAM network has successfully detected and provided warning against indirect fire attacks on the Tarin Kot base and continues to protect bases and Australian Defence Force personnel every day.
“These C-RAM Giraffe radars will be deployed to Afghanistan later this year, boosting our existing force protection capabilities,” Mr Smith said.
“Australia’s C-RAM Sense and Warn capability consists of Giraffe radars, a number of lightweight counter mortar radars and Command and Control and warning equipment.”
“The system has been providing troops in Afghanistan with protection against enemy rocket, artillery and mortar attacks since December 2010.”
“These radars increase the survivability of our forces when they are under attack because of the vital seconds of early warning that they are able to provide,” Mr Clare said.
The third and final Giraffe radar is scheduled to be delivered to Australia in January 2013 to be used as a training support system.
The procurement of the Giraffe radars is the final stage of the LAND 19 Phase 7A acquisition project The Giraffe radars are being manufactured in Sweden under an $86.2 million contract, which includes support services.
Enhanced Satellite Communications
Defence has signed a $38 million contract with ViaSat Incorporated to deliver the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Network Control System (NCS).
“The capability provided through the NCS will utilise satellites in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions and support the resource sharing partnership with the United States,” Mr Smith said.
“The Network Control System will become a critical component for UHF communications capability for ADF personnel operating in the Middle East.”
The UHF band is widely used for military satellite communications because of its adaptability to small, mobile terminals used by ground, sea and air forces.
The contract signing follows on from the recent successful launch of the Defence hosted payload on the Intelsat 22 communications satellite launched from Kazakhstan in late March.
“The ADF UHF Satellite Communications payload hosted on the IS-22 satellite provides a significant increase in available satellite resources for Australian tactical users in the Indian Ocean Region,” Mr Clare said.
Partnering with Intelsat has achieved this capability both rapidly and efficiently by sharing common launch and operating costs, in lieu of owning and operating and entire satellite.
The $US269 million dollar contract with Intelsat to develop the satellite has now successfully completed In-Orbit-Testing and has been accepted by the Commonwealth.
Mr Smith's Office: Andrew Porter 02 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Mr Clare's Office: Annie Williams 02 6277 7620 0428 040 522
Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999