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Defence opens Wide Area Communications Network tender worth up to $500m

by David Shi •
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As flagged in the Defence Capability Plan, the Department of Defence is currently seeking a suitable contractor to implement a nation-wide replacement of its land-based, deployable wide area communications network (D-WAN).  

This latest element, phase 3 of the JP 2047 project, aims to deliver major enhancements to Defence’s information network, improving both Defence’s military capabilities and the management of its business. The project is expected to:

  • Improve the fixed network in Australia; and
  • Enable better integration of the fixed network with satellite and tactical networks providing an integrated end-to-end internet protocol (IP) based network service for all Defence users.

The cost of acquisition of the new wide area communications network is expected to range between $100 million-$500 million depending on the final specifications of the D-WAN. Defence is seeking applicants that have a proven track record in the development of complex wide area networks and their management systems including cyber security management.

The selected contractor is also expected to develop, deliver and continually update a Support Services Management Plan, ensuring the continued functionality and performance of the new wide area network.

The JP 2047 project is expected to deliver a single network built on a common set of standards and products, connecting both fixed and deployed locations of Defence personnel and installations. The utilisation of commercial IP-based communications would ultimately reduce Defence’s net personnel and overall operating costs.

JP2047 is a multi-phase process. The first (Phase 0) is complete. It encompassed a Project Definition Study and a network security and survivability study, which were intended to identify the capability requirements for the later phases of the project.

The phase (1A) is nearing completion. It provides a scalable broadband backbone network, upgraded encryption systems in the Secret domain and upgraded management tools to support the new enhanced network.

The following stage, phase 2A, has been approved and is underway. It is largely focused on providing a virtual private network, strengthening the policy framework behind Defence’s current network environment and providing enhanced encryption services on both the Restricted and Secret networks.

This tender applies to Phase 3, which is an amalgamation of the phases previously known as Phases 2B and 2C.

Tender submissions are due by 12:00 pm EST on 26 August 2011. The tender evaluation process is expected to conclude by early October 2011, with contract negotiations to be completed by November 2011. The first delivery of equipment for the proposed wide area network is planned for 2012.


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