• Australian soldiers conduct radio checks at the Taji Military Complex, Iraq. (Defence)
    Australian soldiers conduct radio checks at the Taji Military Complex, Iraq. (Defence)

The Department of Defence has sought to delay first pass approval for Battlefield Command Systems under Land 200 Phase 3.

The pause is until ‘at least’ February 2022. The Department attributes the delay to ‘overall movement in committee processes and Covid-19’.

The Land 200 program is designed to transition Army command from paper to digital, providing real-time situational awareness, combat planning tools and combat messaging. In 2017, then-Chief of Army LTGEN Angus Campbell described the program as the ‘highest priority’ in the Army.

Phase 1, which included a Battle Management System (BMS) for vehicles under Land 75, a BMS for soldiers under Land 125 Phase 3A, and vehicle comms under JP 2072 Phase 1, achieved Final Operational Capability in the first quarter of 2015, two years behind schedule.

Phase 2 includes radios under Land 2072 Phase 3 and BMS upgrades under Land 125 Phase 4, and achieved contract signature in 2017. It is expected to achieve Final Operational Capability in 2022. This part of the program came under fire from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in May 2019 for exceeding original budgetary and capability remits.

Phase 3 includes expansion of the BCS across Army and select RAN and RAAF elements, a beyond line-of-sight comms capability, a dismounted battlefield command systems capability, and more. It is forecast to cost $1-2 billion with sustainment worth $60-90m annually over 15 years.

Defence says it will conduct its next industry engagement on Land 200 Phase 3 via an information session during MilCIS 2020.

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