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Land Forces 2018: Boeing Pushes Currawong Forward

Completes deliveries for Release 1 under Australia’s Project JP 2072 Phase 2b


Boeing Defence Asia completed deliveries of equipment for 56 nodes for Release 1 under Australia’s Project JP 2072 Phase 2b for a battlespace communications system.

A spokesperson for BDA told MONCh at Land Forces Asia 2018 that the deliveries were completed during the first week of September and that the company is progressing with the detailed design phase for the second release.

Also known as the Integrated Battlespace Telecommunications Network (IBTN), JP2072 ph 2b equipment includes core communications network software and hardware – primarily the Network Access Module (NAM) that is the main computing platform that that provides IP networking, routing, switching, voice, video, data capabilities and management software.

The NAM does this using the Tactical Services Router (TSR) that is the main component of the communications system that will provide secure voice, data and video transfer between Army HQ and deployed forces. About 250 NAMs were delivered for the 56 nodes.
The nodes can be a division-size unit that usually uses eight NAMs, a brigade that uses four, or smaller units or HQ-on-the-move vehicle that use just one NAM but it depends on the level of redundancy preferred. The spokesperson said that five HQ-on-the-move units will be delivered.

BDA has been working under a contract awarded at the Second Pass Approval stage in June 2015 worth A$650 million that will last six years and include two releases. The total value of JP2072 phase 2b is slated at A$950 million. The Initial Material Release was achieved in December 2017 and achieved an initial operating capability in April.

The NAM interfaces with various carrier communications equipment such as a High Capacity Line of Sight (HCLOS) system, Long Haul Fibre (LHF) systems, field voice systems, a Battlefield Network Operations Centre (BNOC) provided under Release 1. It will also connect with wideband satellite transportable land terminal SATCOM systems provided under JP2008 phase 5b.

With Release 2 additional carrier equipment offering increased capability with wide area network links is set to be delivered under the second release. The spokesperson said that BDA has been working on this since the end of 2017 and completed the Preliminary Design Review in July with a Detailed Design Review expected at the end of the year.

New capabilities expected include a Tropposcatter Communications System (TCS) that employs a large antenna and pushes out a lot of radio energy into the trophosphere to bounce off and get received by a receiving antenna. This offers a beyond line of sight (BLOS) communications that can reach 150km and potentially a maximum of 300 kilometres. 

The NAM will be able to host a Medium SATCOM Terminal (MSAT) which is a 2.5m dish set onto a trailer; provide a HQ-on-the-move capability, which is a BUSHMASTER 4×4 vehicle fitted with a satellite terminal on the roof; use a radio interface system for connecting with analogue radios, be used in a deployable data centre; and employ External Network Access Points (ENAP) – local civilian communications infrastructure.

This will require enhancing the mission system manager (MSM) software to ensure that these additional systems can be integrated into the network. The MSM is a network management and planning system that is used for planning and deployment and management of battlespace communications system.

The spokesperson explained that using the MSM a planner can identify and integrate equipment in different nodes that will be automatically connected together once a USB with the mission plan is loaded onto the NAMs.

The programme is experiencing delays with integrating government furnished equipment such as high security and black security systems.
After completion of the DDR the company will start to build the systems and begin integration and testing. The plan is to introduce packets of functionality together and get them verified with the customer. The spokesperson said that under Release 2 equipment for a further 56 nodes (another 250 NAMs) will provided.

Tim Fish


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