The government has approved a project to enhance and continuously improve the equipment used by the ADF, with possible projects including exoskeletons and unmanned 'mule' vehicles.
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said the Integrated Soldier Systems project, valued at up to $1 billion over its 13-year life cycle, would deliver a range of items of equipment to the ADF.
“We’re taking a flexible approach here,” Minister Pyne said. “[We're] investing up to $240 million between now and 2023, with the flexibility to update and change things as technology develops into the future.”
The project aims to deliver a broad range of equipment to ensure personnel continue to meet emerging threats, are less detectable, less susceptible to enemy attacks and able to fight longer and more effectively in challenging conditions.
The first tranche will deliver supplements to the basic equipment used by soldiers including body armour, helmets, hearing and eye protection and load carriage equipment; as well as field equipment like water purifiers, helmet torches, storage bags, cooking gear, and sleeping bags.
In the future the project will continue to enhance the basic equipment used by soldiers to keep it up to date, and will consider hand-held translators, UAVs and even ideas like exoskeletons or ‘mule’ unmanned vehicles to help soldiers carry their equipment.
“This investment under Land 125 Phase 4 will ensure our soldiers have the mobility and protection to deploy quickly and achieve their mission as an integral component of the ADF,” Minister Pyne said.
“Delivery of the subsequent tranches will be subject to a range of variables centred on incorporating emerging technologies, some yet to be fully developed, to ensure our soldiers continue to have the best capabilities available.”
The open Request for Tender to establish a Prime Vendor for the Supply of ADF Field Equipment will be released to market through AusTender.