by Staff Writers
Canberra, Australia (UPI) Apr 16, 2010
Australia's defense procurement organization has signed a deal with Harris Corporation to provide the next generation of communications capability for the country's army and air force.
The Battlespace Communications contract for Falcon Tactical Radio Systems is valued at $126 million, with support facilities and maintenance support activities to be developed in Australia.
As part of the agreement with the Australian military, Harris will establish a customer service and support center in Brisbane.
"The contract will provide interoperable secure voice and data communication systems that will accelerate the transition of the Australian (military) to a networked battlefield," a statement by Greg Combet, minister for Defense Materiel and Science, said.
"This will provide improved protection and coordination for Australian military personnel, allowing missions to be carried out more efficiently, safely and effectively."
The contract will assist the Australian army in achieving the defense network-centric warfare milestone of a networked brigade in 2012. It also will support the Australian air force to reach longer-term milestones of a networked combat support force by 2016.
An operational networked brigade is likely as early as 2013, a statement from Harris said.
The order consists primarily of Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-152(C) multiband hand-held radios. In dismounted configuration they will connect soldiers to the military's central Battle Management System and serve as a hub for other soldier-carried C4 devices.
The order also includes Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-117G wide band, Falcon II AN/PRC-117F multi band and Falcon II AN/PRC-150(C) high-frequency manpack radios.
In addition, Falcon AN/PRC-152 in vehicular amplifier adapters will support the installation of equipment in more than 1,000 armored vehicles.
The Harris radio systems will serve as the secure communications backbone for the Australian military Land 75, Land 125 and Joint Project 2072 communications modernization programs. The systems wirelessly connect soldiers to each other, their commanders and other devices in the field. The systems include Type 1 security devices, antennas and power amplifiers.
"We're also excited to expand international use of our JTRS-approved Falcon III radio systems, said Andy Start, president of international business at Harris RF Communications. "These systems form the basis for secure networked military communications, providing significantly better information gathering and dissemination at the tactical edge, where the battle is fought."
Harris said it is working closely with prime contractor Elbit Systems on the communications modernization programs.
Elbit Systems was awarded a $298 million contract last month for support services for the army's LAND 75/125 battle management system capability program. It includes supply, integration, installation and support of a battle group and below command, control-and-communications system.
Elbit's tactical command-and-control system BGC3 incorporates a battle management system allowing constant communication among soldiers, vehicle-mounted commanders and command staff at a remote headquarters.
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