• Credit: Defence
    Credit: Defence

In the Major Acquisition – Over $50 million category the two finalists are in very different programs; Air 5438 Lead-In Fighter Capability Assurance Program Phase 1A and Land 125 Phase 3B. But they both share a common element: Defence and Industry working together to produce an exceptional outcome for the ADF user.

The Hawk upgrade saw a massive body of work for the platform that will see it perform well into the RAAF’s 5th gen future. The last of the upgraded Hawks was handed over to RAAF earlier this year.

“Working with an international OEM team under a new safety framework, personnel from Defence and BAE Systems Australia’s team worked tirelessly to update numerous systems, introduce simulators and upgrade the Hawk Lead In Fighter to a standard worthy of a fifth generation Air Force under strained budget circumstances,” according to the judges’ citation. “This program is an excellent demonstration of true collaboration under pressure.”

Australian owned and operated SME Craig International Ballistics has been working on a number of programs with Defence over the years but really put their money where their mouth was in taking on elements of the Soldier Combat Ensemble which saw the company invest in new facilities to answer the requirement. The 2015 contract involved the manufacture of around 20,000 sets of body armour for the Australian Army at a value of approximately $49 million. The contract was for four years with a three-year extension option with the program reaching a critical delivery milestone this year.

The armour was designed in-house by the ballistic protection company and is lightweight and durable while also providing improved protection against small arms fire, high-velocity fragments and knife attack.

“Working on the body armour elements of the integrated soldier combat ensemble, this SME and program office were able to address all elements of the capability life cycle on time and on budget,” according to the judges’ citation. “Utilising local innovative manufacturing techniques and test and evaluation technologies, both new and refurbished equipment were ready for the ADF thanks to the open and honest relationship between the SME and program office.”

ADM and the Department of Defence are looking forward to recognising both teams at the D+I gala dinner on July 31 and attending the conference on August 1.  

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