EOS has gathered a best of breed collection of Australian owned and operated SMEs under a new C4 EDGE banner to work on communications programs.
Under an initial $4.2 million contract, C4 Edge is scoping the demonstration of a sovereign land battlegroup and below communications environment for the Australian Army. Programs like Land 200 were not mentioned at the event but are an obvious candidate for the group.
“This is a genuine creative and innovative activity from Army,” EOS Defence Systems CEO Grant Sanderson said at the event at their Symonston facility in Canberra yesterday. “I think there will be some revelations that come out of this process. Not to mention so many export opportunities not just for EOS but all the companies involved in C4 Edge.”
Ultimately, by the end of 2021 the program will have delivered a proof of concept demonstration that shows the capability of Australian industry to further develop a protected, integrated and supportable sovereign system: one that delivers agile and resilient C2 functionality to meet the flexible, scalable and interoperability needs of a battlegroup operating independently or with partners.
Seventeen Australian companies have joined the C4 EDGE (Evolutionary Digital Ground Environment) Communications Program so far.
The C4 EDGE program will leverage internationally agreed open standards to grow and demonstrate Australian C4 (command control communications and computers) industry capacity and ability to deliver a battlegroup and below C4 capability demonstration.
ACT based companies 1LM, Insitec, Kord Defence, Outlander Solutions, Penten, SkyKraft and Xtek; contracted under the nation-wide program comprised of 17 businesses, were officially welcomed to Team C4 EDGE by Senator Zed Seslja (ACT) and Army represented by Colonel Deane Limmer standing in for Brigadier Richard Vagg.
“This is an opportunity to develop a smart sovereign capability here on the ground,” COL Limmer said to ADM. “Army is leaning forward to embrace the approach which is in line with the clear direction from government.”
“I’m proud to represent the people of the ACT’s high technology defence industry here,” Senator Seselja said at the ceremony, handing out the plaques. “When it comes to cyber and high technology manufacturing, we have some extraordinary expertise and this program will only grow that.”
“The C4 EDGE program is an innovative and creative initiative from the Australian Government and Army that demonstrates their commitment to improved Australian Industry engagement and opportunity,” Sanderson continued.
Between the 17 companies, they represent a significant presence; 975 employees, approximately $616 million of annual gross turnover and approximately $408 million in annual global exports. Some of the companies have never worked in the defence space before but are working in a collaborative way with the group to navigate new waters.
C4 EDGE members
“At this point we are 10 people but we’re building a new manufacturing facility out in Fyshwick,” Bevan Jones, CEO/CTO, Outlander Solutions said to ADM. “We want to make sure that the solider at the tactical edge has the information they need as we focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to achieve the agility and adaptability that they need at the critical moment.”
XTEK will be bringing a range of their sensor integration work to the table; from their work on the Wasp UAS and vehicles as well as small smart sensors as part of a comms network, XTEK’s Bob Quodling explained to ADM.
“We want to make sure that a soldier only gets the information they need in a format that makes sense; cognitive overload doesn’t help anyone,” he explained.
Matt Wilson of Penten is also excited about the sovereign opportunities that the group can bring to bear in the wake of the policy update from the department.
“We know that the last 20 years of conflict are no great predictor for the next 20 years,” he said. “We have this grand opportunity to support not only our Army in that fight but also other allied militaries as well. It’s about connecting and elevating companies that have already worked in defence and those that are new in this space.”
Team members based in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia, who were unable to participate in the event due to COVID-19 travel restrictions will be officially welcomed during a series of locally- arranged events and announcements next week.
ADM will continue to cover the work being done by C4 Edge over the coming months and years as the program reaches key milestones.