The Department of Defence has unveiled a raft of changes to its Capability Plan, including the addition of a new phase to its massive Battlespace Communications System project, or JP 2072.
A total of 78 changes have been made to various Defence projects phases, ranging from minor alterations such as title changes to major budgetary revisions.
One of the projects most heavily affected by the changes is JP 2072, which involves the rollout of an integrated land-based Battlespace Communications System.
Phase 2B of the project has received ‘first pass’ approval since the Capability Plan was last updated in December 2010, meaning that Defence is now free to approach the market for expressions of interest and to subsequently refine its plans for the program of work.
It also appears that some of the proposed funding for Phase 3 of the project has been rolled into Phase 2B, increasing its band costing significantly from $300-500 million to $500million-$1 billion. Phase 3 has had its indicative cost band reduced accordingly.
Phase 4 is an entirely new entry to the Capability Plan, and as with Phase 3 is intended to expand communications infrastructure into as yet unequipped brigades, and to refresh the equipment that has already been rolled out as part of phase 1 of this project.
Other ICT-based projects have also gained first pass approval, according to the update.
- Phase 3 of JP 2047, which is an upgrade of Defence’s land-based, deployable wide area communications network (D-WAN);
- Phase 3H of JP 2008, which involves the optimisation of the Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) system with WGS certified terminals;
- Phase 4 of SEA 1442, which is the implementation of the Maritime Tactical Wide Area Network (MTWAN) onto unequipped fleet ships;
- Phase 4A of SEA 1448, which in the improvement of ANZAC frigate-class electronic support systems; and
- Phase 1 of AIR 5431, the rollout of the new Defence Air Traffic Management and Control System (DATMCS).
Projects in the Defence Capability Plan must go through a two-pass approval process before they receive government funding. First pass approval gives Defence authorisation to investigate its options when it comes to a capability project, which often involves an approach to the market for quotations or information.
It is not until Defence receives second pass approval on a fully developed and refined proposal that a project is allocated a budget and implementation can begin.
Other project phases contained in the Capability Plan have undergone major budgetary revisions. Phase 5 of Land 75, the amalgamated development of the Battle Management System (BMS) and the Battlefield Command Support System (BCSS) has had its indicative cost increased from the $500 million to $1 billion bracket to the $1-2 billion bracket.
Phase 4B of SEA 1448, the replacement of current ANZAC frigate class Air Search Radar systems, has moved up from the $100-$300 million bracket to $300-500 million.
The current Defence Capability Plan contains about $153 billion worth of project proposals, which equates to approximately $230 billion when projected inflation rates are taken into account. All of the phase project changes and revisions can be viewed via the official Defence website.
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