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Systematic Targets Australian Special Forces

Land 1508 Project Greyfin


With Elbit Systems selected for the Battle Management System (BMS) for Tranche 3 of Australia’s Land 200 battlespace communications system project, BMS software provider Systematic is looking elsewhere for opportunities.

The company is present at Land Forces Asia 2018 under the Horizon Defence Systems Alliance of companies to compete for Australian projects. David Horton, Systematic’s Vice President for Australia told MONCh that because the Australian DoD’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) procurement organisation is refusing to look at alternative BMS options for Land 200, the company is hoping to offer its SitaWare software to Australian Special Forces instead.

The Special Forces programme that includes a BMS requirement is Land 1508 Project Greyfin and Mr Horton said there is some interest in the company’s product as it has already been selected by the US Army under a contract in 2017 and by New Zealand in 2016 as part of its Network Enabled Army project.

According to the executive, the Australian Special Forces will not use Elbit Systems’ TORCH system as it is not ITAR approved, non-NATO and non-Five Eyes. He said that this has caused issues with integration on Harris’ PRC-152 and PRC-150 radios under Land 200 Tranche 2 because those products are ITAR approved by the US.

Ironically, on Harris’ stand at Land Forces 2018, it is running Systematic’s Sitaware software and the company re-sells it in the Asia-Pacific region. Mr Horton said that Harris is the prime systems integrator for SitaWare into the UAE Armed Forces.

Mr Horton said that his impression was that originally Tranche 3 of Land 200 was supposed to allow new vendors to compete to provide an entirely new BMS, but that after selecting Elbit Systems’ TORCH in 2011 and spending A$1 billion with the firm the Australian Army decided to continue with that system and instead re-compete the BMS element under a different programme in the future.

He said that the next programme that will allow for a BMS competition is Land 4150 that will take place in the 2025 timeframe. Horton added that Systematic’s SitaWare offers advantages over TORCH including the ability to source other vendors from Australia and elsewhere to provide component parts.

Furthermore, he said SitaWare is open and can use any hardware, it easy to use like a mobile phone and can offer a reduced training bill. Systematic also publishes its Application Programme Interfaces (API) which is software that allows two applications to talk to each other, it has interoperability with NATO and Five Eyes countries and operates on a lower bandwidth so guaranteeing communications on HF and VHF radios where most other systems cannot.

Horton hopes SitaWare will prove attractive to Australian Special Forces as they have a different, faster acquisition model that he a likes to someone buying a car: looking at the market, selecting the best options, test driving them, doing their own analysis and buying one all in a short space of time. He said that any additional costs of buying COTS equipment by this method are more than offset by not pursuing a long drawn out procurement programme and the resources that entails.

 Tim Fish


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