To enhance the performance of Australia’s Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN), the Government has awarded BAE Systems Australia and CryoClock a $4.8 million contract to develop ultra-high-precision Sapphire Clock technology.
“The Sapphire Clock is more precise than current available commercial timing systems," Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said. "When used within a radar system like the JORN, it has the potential to improve detection performance across Australia’s northern approaches.
“CryoClock’s leading-edge technology also has the potential to be used beyond Defence including in the communications, advanced computing and scientific research sectors.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Emeritus Professor David Blair, an Australian physicist who invented the first Sapphire Clock in 1984, during a visit to the OzGrav-UWA centre in Gingin, Western Australia last week.
“It is fascinating that this extremely precise timepiece, which was designed for improving clocks, radars and measuring systems, has the potential to be used in radar systems such as JORN.”
JORN is a vital strategic defence-wide area surveillance system that surveys the northern air and sea approaches of Australia out to a range of 3000 kilometres.
It is remotely operated from RAAF Base Edinburgh in SA, with three radar sites located in Longreach (Qld), Laverton (WA) and Alice Springs (NT).
“If successful, follow-on work is expected which will see a production and integration contract for the incorporation of the technology into JORN under Defence’s Air 2025 Phase 6 upgrade project," Minister Reynolds said.
Defence’s investment in the technology coincides with CryoClock’s relocation into South Australia’s high-tech innovation precinct at LOT 14 alongside the Australian Space Agency and some of Australia’s most advanced technology companies.