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Land Forces 2018: Currawong Attracts Five Eyes Interest

Boeing Defence Australia contracted to provide the battlespace communications network

The Integrated Battlespace Telecommunications Network (IBTN) being delivered to Australia under Project Currawong JP2072 Phase 2b could secure significant export orders. According to Boeing Defence Australia (BDA), which is contracted to provide the battlespace communications network, there is interest from the US Army, British Army and New Zealand Defence Force.

A spokesperson from BDA said that the US Army is looking to remediation of its Warfighting Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) after Congress halted funds for the programme and therefore solicitations are being put out for information on off-the-shelf systems.

BDA has responded to the request and the spokesperson added that the US Army is interested in the Network Access Modules (NAM) because of the scalability and flexibility. Even though the US Army is considerably larger than the Australian Army a network can still be established with the NAMs and it can host different carrier equipment to provide the short- and long-range connectivity.

The New Zealand Network Enabled Army project to deliver a C4ISR capability for the Army and Special Forces. Tranche 1 is underway with the establishment of a network for a Task Group Headquarters element and supporting communications for a light infantry company. Sitaware has been selected as the Battle Management System and GATR SATCOM is the tactical communications bearer.

A second tranche intends to equip an Army light task group by 2022 and the programme has been designed to allow for the introduction of improved technology and a range of suppliers. A combined arms task group will be equipped by 2025 under Tranche 3 and a battalion group is planned under a fourth tranche by 2028. The spokesperson said BDA has responded to the tender and there is interest in NAM and in this case it would be the opposite to the US as the NZDF is much smaller.

For the UK, project Trinity has been introduced alongside the Morpheus programme to replace the older BAE FALCON system that was introduced in the 2000s. The spokesperson said that the NAM exceeds requirements and can provide a digital HQ and below. He believes that although Trinity is similar to Land 2072 Ph2b and Morpheus is more like Australia’s Land 200 programme, Currawong could deliver both.

The spokesperson added that a WIN-T upgrade is about two years out. Trinity is in the preparation phase with an industry day completed and a requirements set being development so about 12 months away and a solution expected in 2019. The NZ NEA on the other hand is probably only about 6 months away from a decision so is the more immediate prospect.

BDA is helped significantly by having Australia as a customer and is focussed on securing exports in the Five Eyes countries.

Tim Fish

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