The ADF's new air defence system has passed Gate 2 approval and is now set to be acquired under Land 19 Phase 7B.
The Raytheon/Kongsberg NASAMS (National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) is fielded by seven nations, including the US, and provides ground-based air defence against fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial systems using the Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile).
The system will eventually become the inner tier of Australia’s integrated air and missile defence capability.
“This new air defence capability combines world leading Australian radar technology with a highly effective air defence system that will contribute to the protection of our service men and women from modern airborne threats,” Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said.
The initial single supplier limited request for tender (RFT) to Raytheon in 2017 initially caused much consternation amongst industry as one of the first examples of the Smart Buyer framework.
“We went through an exhaustive process, drawing on both RFI material and our own research to come to this conclusion,” then-Deputy Secretary of CASG Kim Gillis told ADM at the time. “It just made sense in this case. We do not want to waste industry’s time and money with a stalking horse competition when the answer for Australia’s requirements was clear.”
The first stage of the project then saw initial studies conducted with CEA Technologies on potential phased array radar configurations, followed by a contract signed to develop a tactical radar (CEATAC) and a larger cueing radar (CEAOPS).
“The CEA radar that has been so successful on our ships will now be integrated into an Australian designed and built vehicle, the Thales Hawkei," Minister Pyne confirmed.
“I’m delighted to announce that one of Australia’s most innovative technologies will be used to further enhance the effectiveness of NASAMS and contribute to one of the world’s best short-range ground based air defence systems.”
Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is set for 2022-23 and Full Operational Capability (FOC) for 2025-26, meaning Land 19 Phase 7B is likely to be the first new or upgraded element in the broader-ranging Project Air 6500.
Minister for Defence Industry Senator Linda Reynolds said Australian industry will play a vital role in the $2.5 billion project to buy and sustain the short-range air defence capability, which will replace the Army’s current ageing RBS-70 man-portable air defence system.
“Australian industry will secure more than $1 billion of the total investment in acquiring and maintaining the short range air defence capability,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Today’s announcement will create opportunities for defence exports generating employment for at least 100 Australian workers over the projected life of the capability."
Raytheon Australia Managing Director Michael Ward told ADM last year that more than 200 suppliers across Australia have been engaged to determine opportunities for Australian industry to contribute to the program, with a number of suppliers already identified to support the program throughout its development.
“As the specific capability requirements for this program are finalised, a number of these Australian suppliers and SMEs will be contracted to deliver unique Australian components,” Ward said.
“This whole-of-industry approach to the Land 19 program will effectively develop and grow a truly sovereign land systems integration capability and workforce.”
Much of the work will be done at the new Raytheon Australia Centre for Joint Integration, which will be built in the defence industry precinct at Mawson Lakes in SA with a $50 million investment from Raytheon.
“This project will create new high-tech jobs and supply chain and export opportunities for our defence industry, with work to be undertaken at Raytheon Australia’s Centre for Joint Integration in SA,” Premier Steven Marshall said.