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OVERVIEW OF MAJOR AUSTRALIAN
1. AIR FORCE PROJECTS
The only dedicated aircraft EW project to be under the control of the Air
Force was the very ambitious Project Echidna. It covered a group of aircraft
that were in service and which either did not have any EW self-protection
capability or a capability that was obsolescent. Two other groups of aircraft
were added: approved aircraft and future aircraft.
The aircraft to be fitted under Echidna were the C-130H, C-130J,
Blackhawk, Seahawk, Chinook, and the F-111s. Although the Caribou was
in service it was not included in this or any list that concerned aircraft EW.
The AP3-C MPA was also not included as from the day it was introduced
into service arrangements to maintain, modify and upgrade the aircraft
Program was outside the scope of the project, although it was intended to
be fitted with a common RWR supplied under Echidna.
Approved projects for aircraft that would be delivered with an installed
Super Hor net. Future aircraft included the replacement of the AP-3C, with
the P-8A mooted, the F-35 Lightning 11, and the HALE UAS. The original
intention was that these aircraft would be delivered with an EW suite and,
with the exception of the F-35, it was considered likely that the RAAF would
have a considerable input into their EW systems.
From an EW perspective the inclusion of an Australian Industry input
into the approved and future aircraft projects was evidently not discussed
within Defence and once Echidna was complete the “pickings” for Industry
would be reduced to maintenance and through-life support if not provided
by the OEM or the RAAF.
AIR5416, ECHIDNA PROJECT
AIR 5416 was a diverse multi-phase project, for the design, engineering,
manufacture, installation, and support of EW systems for the F-111 (AIR
5391), C-130 H, C-130J (AIR 5394), Blackhawk, Seahawk, the Chinook and
RWR and its application to the above platforms was intended as a major
common factor in Echidna. Echidna also included a Mission Support
System (eventually directly procured by the RAAF), modifications to
existing flight crew training simulators to include the functionality of the
EW systems in each case and other support systems.
The stated objectives for Echidna were:
Underpinning the acquisition concept for Project Echidna was the
achievement of the best overall value for money while meeting the
capability, contractual and other requirements. The involvement of DSTO
was not evident. It is almost shameful to suggest, but it may be true, that
Echidna was “invented” by the Department of Defence for Australian
Industry to undertake an EW task that no foreign company would tackle.
Taking into consideration the diversity of the aircraft, although a
common architecture might be achievable, the adoption of a completely
common suite was always unlikely, except possibly for the ALR-2002 RWR
as a common factor. Echidna commenced with an ITR that did not exclude
involvement by overseas companies. IT T Avionics and Lockheed Martin
responded and were then later excluded as participants, except through
Australian Industry. These companies were later to drop out of the project
entirely, probably because of a lack of opportunity to play a major role.
The selected Australian companies were BAE Systems and Tenix Defence
Systems, both of whom were uncontested, to carry out a 12 month funded
Initial Design Activity as a precursor to the main part project.
The contractual phases were:
Phase 1 Stage 1 was for the full scale engineering development (FSED) by
BAE Systems of the ALR -2002 as a key element of all the planned EWSP
suites. Program planning for the ALR-2002 also included:
negotiations for that project.
would provide additional capabilities needed to ensure the operational
effectiveness of the ALR -2002 to 2015
production processes for Echidna and Hornet Upgrade projects.
The importance of the success of the ALR-2002 to Echidna cannot be
Phase 1 Stage 2 involved an Initial Design Activity (IDA) conducted
concurrently by Tenix Defence Systems and BAE Systems, as a cooperative
team, over an 18 month period. The IDA focused on the design and costing
of a common EWSP suite that could be tailored for installation in the range
of Echidna-specified aircraft and was completed in December 2002.
Phase 1 Stage 3 involved the provision of ballistic protection measures
for the Black Hawk helicopter. An ITR process conducted in the first half
of 2004 resulted in the selection of a shortlist of companies, comprising
Helitech, Raytheon and Tenix, to contest an RFT for the provision of 12
Black Hawk ballistic protection kits and initial logistics support. Tenders
for the capability closed mid 2004.
Phase 2A focused on the detailed EWSP design for the Black Hawk and
Chinook, with an approved budget of $241.185m (Dec 04). A $135.5m
contract was awarded to BAE Systems in February 2005 for the design,
development, integration and installation of an Electronic Warfare Self
Protection capability for the Ar my’s fleets of Black Hawk and Chinook
Phase 2A also was to include an Integrated Electronic Warfare Mission
Support System, with an EW RF Stimulator, to be located at the JEWOSU,
upgrading the Black Hawk Simulator, the provision of Simulated
Maintenance Trainers and Maintenance Training Aids. The Initial Operating
The need to support the F-111s influenced Echidna
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