Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR November 2010 Contents 22 | Asia Pacific Defence Reporter
comprising a Dismounted BMS and Data-Capable Combat Net Radio
to improve digital situational awareness and data management. Such
a BMS was selected in 2010 after a request for tender (RFT) was issued
in June 2007. The Elbit Systems Dominator BMS from Israel will display
information on a monocular and tablet display. Dominator is based on
the Israel Defence Force (IDF) Integrated Soldier System that
underwent successful Australian company-level trials in 2009.
This requirement has been combined with LAND 75 Phase
3.4 for a mounted and dismounted BMS for a Battle Group
and Below, Command, Control and Communications (BGC3)
system. Approval for this stage is about four years behind
schedule. In addition to Elbit’s BMS, the proposed Phase 3A
solution comprises the Raytheon Microlight radio (for platoon
HQ) and multiband Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-152(C) handheld
radios for use at lower levels. In April, Harris Corporation signed
a USD112 million contract mainly for the latter radios, but also
AN/PRC-117G wideband, AN/PRC-117F multiband and AN/
PRC-150C HF man-pack radios.
Phase 3B offers survivability improvements like the Modular
Combat Body Armour System (MCBAS), and Ballistic and
Laser Ocular Protection System (BLOPS). On 2 April 2008,
local company Australian Defence Apparel Pty Ltd (ADA) was
awarded an AUD80.7 million contract to manufacture 14,688
MCBAS sets. It began to be fielded from May of that year.
While it offered improved ballistic protection, problems were
unfortunately encountered in the field with its weight exceeding
the 13kg specified in the tender. Soldiers in Afghanistan have
reported that MCBAS is too heavy and restrictive of movement.
As a stop-gap measure, lighter ‘Eagle Marine’ body armour has
been acquired since October 2009 at the rate of 100 sets per
month (1,854 sets ordered in total).
Indeed, procurements under Phase 3B have been reprioritised.
Since different troops and missions require different levels
of armour, the new Tiered Body Armour System (TBAS) has
emerged. MCBAS will be retained within a three-level protection
system: MCBAS will represent the top tier (Level 4), with TBAS
Level 1 (weighing in at 5kg) at the other end of the scale. The
latter is well-suited to Navy Clearance Divers doing special-
operations, for instance. The intermediate level will be met by
sets equivalent to the interim ‘Eagle Marine’ (1.5-3kg lighter
than MCBAS). Initial TBAS user trials by special forces and 3
RAR took place in November 2009. Trials of a modified TBAS
version concluded in mid-2010, with each set expected to cost
Deliveries of BLOPS from Frontline Safety Australia began in
2009, although these were minus the laser protective lenses still
in development. Because the urgent protective gear acquisitions
satisfy current needs, second-pass consideration of Phase 3B
for body and eye protection has been deferred till 2011-12 . This
represents a six-year delay from original estimates, and IOC is
now assumed to be 2013-15.
Under the topic of lethality in Phase 3C, an enhanced F88 Austeyr
rifle with improved weapon optics to enhance surveillance and target
acquisition/engagement will be fielded. This phase is awaiting second-
pass approval. The aim is to upgrade the incumbent F88 to SA2 standard,
which in turn will contribute to the Army Capability Requirement Infantry
2012. this requirement seeks commander, marksman, grenadier and
standard versions of the said rifle. Thales Australia is presently engaged in
the design and development of this enhanced and digitised F88.
There is also a fourth phase under LAND 125 that will introduce SE
v.3 capabilities. This step foresees an integrated soldier system, but it
still awaits initial approval. Phase 4 will take into account emerging
requirements and technological maturity.
Australian Army soldiers such as these from 3 RAR can expect further new
equipment to appear in coming years as LAND 125 bears fruit. (Gordon Arthur)
The Elbit Systems Dominator BMS from Israel
will display information on a monocular and
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