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Defence DMO seeks tenders for $500 million Navy comms upgrade

by David Shi •
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ICT Providers have until 18 July to make their case to become the prime contractor for the $500 million fourth stage of Defence Materiel Organisation’s Navy communications upgrade.

The Defence Materiel Organisation (Defence DMO) is currently seeking a provider to upgrade and modernise communication and information management systems for the Royal Australian Navy’s ANZAC Class frigates, as the fourth of the five stage SEA 1442 project.

The tender is the latest instalment in a period of accelerated ICT procurement activity at Defence. Since the beginning of March this year, the Department of Defence has released nine major ICT tenders including the long awaited Application Management Services Panel Arrangement worth up to $340 million alongside a tender for the provision of an important addition to its Human Resources system as part of the broader JP2080 strategy.

Phase 4 of the SEA 1442 project  will enhance the Royal Australian Navy’s maritime communications capability in support of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) larger Network Centric Warfare (NCW) concept.

“The tender will seek a Prime Contractor for the design, development, integration and installation of the mission system in the ANZAC class ships and associated support system, and sustainment of the delivered capability,” says the Defence DMO website.

The NCW aims to bring the ADF’s communication systems in line with those of other modern Western military forces including the United States. The long-term objective of the NCW project is the creation of a combined joint and seamless Future Joint Operations Concept force by 2030.

Granted Government approval in December 2010, Phase 4 of the SEA 1442 will give the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) the capacity to establish networked communications between selected major surface vessels within a task group. Phase 4 of the project will also build upon the Mobile Tactical Wide Area Network (MTWAN) introduced by the ongoing Phase 3 stage.

With a projected cost between $300-500 million, the modernisation of the ADF’s maritime communications through the SEA1442 project will ultimately create a ‘Networked Navy’, improving the Australian Navy’s fighting and winning capabilities at sea.

The Phase 4 of the SEA 1442 will provide a communications system that will deliver:

  • Upgraded radio system to support wideband network communications;
  • Communications management;
  • Communications switching
  • Secure voice and tactical intercom
  • High data rate line-of-sight radio communications.

And a support system will include:

  • Training system
  • System Integration and Test Facility.

The system will expected to be compatible with current and future maritime communication projects, and Defence DMO hopes that maximum use of Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) and Military-off-the-Shelf (MOTS) products will be made.

Tender submissions for the project are due by 18 July 2011.


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