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planned for the ADF. The original requirement was for
SOV-Cdo (Commando), 9 x SOV-Log (Logistics) and
9 x SOV-Spt (Support) yet the Minister’s press release
of 29 August 2014 only referred to 89 SOV-Cdo.
This led APDR to ask Defence “Will the requirement
for SOV-Log and SOV-Spt be the subject of a future
order?” to which their project spokesperson replied
“The SOV-LOG capability is being provided by a
logistics variant of the SOV-Cdo, and is included in
the 89 vehicles being purchased. This capability will
be supplemented by Medium-Heavy logistics vehicles
provided by LAND 121 Phase 3B. The SOV-Support
will be procured via a separate contract and is
currently being negotiated.”
Michael Halloran, Managing Director of Supacat
in Australia has described the HMT Extenda as
being "unique in being convertible to either a 4x4
or 6x6 configuration to meet different operational
requirements ... The SOV-Cdo will be delivered in
four reconfigurable roles, emphasising the flexibility of
the HMT platform".
The vehicles include crew ballistic and mine-blast
protection. They will fitted with 12.5mm and 7.62mm
machine guns and numerous other electronic and
weapons systems, including blue force trackers, to
avoid the tragedy of fratricide through friendly fire.
An integrated logistic support package that covers
operating, engineering, maintenance, supply, and
training support forms part of the contract.
Elbit Systems of Australia is providing the vehicle's
command-and-control systems introduced through
LAND 75 for the Battle Group and Below Command,
Control and Communication Systems (BGC3).
During research for this article APDR discovered
that the UK has been trialling a remote weapons
station with a Supacat SOV. The information found
was “Using a Supacat platform in the UK MoD's
Jackal 2 configuration, the system was fitted with
the Kongsberg Protector Remote Weapon Station
(RWS) that has already been procured for two UK
MOD programmes and also the newly developed and
now in service Remote Optical Target Acquisition
System (ROTAS) that incorporates the Catherine
Mega Pixel thermal camera, high zoom colour TV
camera and the Celt laser. This allows for accurate
lased ranges to targets combining with the GNAV
sat nav system for precise target and own vehicle
grid referencing. The system is fully qualified and
now in service on the Talisman Route proving &
This naturally led to APDR asking Defence’s project
spokesperson “Is Defence planning to acquire the
Kongsberg RWS for this order of 89 SOV-Cdo?” to
which they responded “Selected variants of SOV-Cdo
will be fitted with a Kongsberg RWS Protector variant.”
The Kongsberg Protector RWS has the following
functions: slew to cue; single shot capability modes of
fire; full stabilisation fire on the move; laser pointer for
target hand off; high power spotlight with IR filters; and
multi weapon fits GPMG, HMG, GMG.
SUPACAT TEAM AUSTRALIA
To form Supacat Team Australia, Supacat conducted
a rigorous down-select process to identify industry
partners, who have all agreed MOUs. Supacat Team
Australia works in partnership to deliver the entire
program efficiently, on a best value for money basis,
Kongsberg’s role has already been described.
Able Industries in Melbourne will be responsible for
mechanical component manufacture and sub-assembly
AME Systems of Ararat is a key supplier of
military connector systems to Thales for Bushmaster
production at Bendigo. It will also be supplying electro-
mechanical subsystems (including complete looms
and vehicle subsystems) for the SOV-Cdo order.
The British designed and built six-wheel drive all
terrain mobility SOVs will be the most expensive and
capable special-forces vehicles ever purchased for
the ADF’s SAS and Commandos. These vehicles will
be assembled by 55 workers at the Western Sydney-
based company, Baker & Provan.
Supacat, of Melbourne and Sydney, OEM supplier
of the Supacat SOV, has it’s core service capabilities
as strong project and engineering management, which
can include platform and system integration design
and prototype development.
Tectonica Australia, based in Melbourne, will be
supplying vehicle and personnel protection systems.
VEEM Pty Ltd of Perth will extend its current support
role for the existing 31-vehicle Nary HMT contract to
cover the new order for HMT Extendas.
Plattmounts (WE Platt, Sydney) is recognised as
a world-leading supplier of machine gun mounts for
armoured vehicles. WE Platt have already supplied a
large number of weapon mounts for the Bushmaster
PMV and are a key Supacat team member, providing
weapons mounts for the SOV-Cdo.
PROGRESS WITH NETWORK SPECIAL
The Network Special Operations Capability – Mobile
Information and Communications Technology (NSOC-
MICT) program proposes “to design, develop and
implement a secure mobile communications system
for Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) user
to access a limited set of applications and services
hosted on the Special Operations Command Support
System (SOCSS) network.”
“The system will comprise of a smartphone capable
of secure calls, a secure tablet PC, a gateway
environment, and deployable cellular base station.
The system will use Defence Signals Directorate
Approved Cryptographic Algorithms (DACA) based on
Suite B level encryption“. (Note that Defence Signals
Directorate is now the Australian Signals Directorate.)
This means the hardware agnostic project proposes
to use advances in mobile device capabilities and
encryption techniques and protocols to provide
SOCOMD users with a commercial style smartphone
and tablet which will provide secure voice and data up
to SECRET level.
The NSOC-MICT RFI Tender closed 2 Jan 2013.
It was limited to participants who are members of
the Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) and
are accredited to handle and store information at the
RESTRICTED security classification.
No information has yet been released on progress of
this part of Project Redfin, although the Minister’s words
“Approval has also been given to enter into a number
of contracts for the provision of support vehicles,
as well as various communication and networking
systems that will make up a communications capability
and provide additional opportunities for Australian
industry.”, imply that Second Pass Approval has been
granted, so more details should be available in the next
SPECIAL FORCES DESERVE OUR
The Government does not commit Special Forces to
With an indefinite timeline for the Iraq mission, it
is probable that they will be committed to additional
roles as well as that of training advisers to the Iraqi
forces. Should jihadists penetrate the Baghdad Green
Zone and threaten western embassies, the SAS and
Commando could form part of a defensive perimeter
around the Australian Embassy. Also with RAAF Super
Hornet fighter bombers going into harm’s way, guided
by a Wedgetail and refuelled by a KC-30A, there could
be some RAAF targeting identification provided for the
US joint terminal attack controllers, but we sincerely
hope that no crew rescues will be required.
Regarding the vehicle acquisition for Project Redfin,
Defence Minister Johnston has said “These are modern,
highly mobile vehicles that can be re-configured to suit
the individual mission and the communications on
board will provide digital connectivity to across the
ADF as well as Coalition partners.”
“The acquisition of these vehicles will enhance our
Special Forces’ ability to maintain a capability edge
over emerging threats to Australia’s national interests.”
Our Special Forces deserve nothing less.
23/10/14 3:52 PM
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