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hile strike operations are exercised
mainly within our region, ADF
surveillance and logistic air
operations take place around the
Phase 1 of this project delivered primarily analogue
radio systems in the functional areas of air traffic
control, air defence ground environment, air weapons
ranges, and pilot monitoring facilities.
Defence considers ‘Phase 2 will reassess the
communications requirements within each Air Traffic
and Air Defence System and consider the introduction
of new technology.
"Radio over Internet Protocol, Voice over Internet
Protocol and data communications over radio are
examples of technologies that will be assessed for
relevance to ADF air-ground-air communications."
First Pass Approval for this project has slipped a
couple of years since it first appeared in a Defence
Capability Plan. Currently, it is scheduled for FY
2014-15 to FY 2015-16.
Could this delay be caused by perceived lack of
maturity in emerging technologies; existing equipment
continuing to meet requirements for longer than
expected; limited availability of skilled people to staff
a project team; and/or cost constraints?
According to Defence’s project team spokesperson
“A Rapid Prototyping, Development and Evaluation
(RPDE) task is examining current and future
communications technologies which will help inform
whether the existing capability can be extended and
Phase two delayed.”
PHASE 1 CAPABILITY DELIVERED
BAE Systems (as Siemens Plessey, subsequently
acquired by BAES) was awarded the AIR 5397
Phase 1 contract (as prime) in a competitive tender
process in the mid 90s. The technology was delivered
over several years with the final installation completed
Installations were done in multiple tranches across
11 RAAF bases and a number of unmanned locations
throughout Australia. They provided the end-to-end
solution including design, systems, engineering,
installation and maintenance - and covering radios
and all related infrastructure.
Rohde & Schwarz were sub-contractors to
Siemens Plessey (as it was then known) supplying
all HF, VHF and UHF transceiver hardware, including
accessories such as automatic filters; remote
control units; electronic protective measures (EPM)
The actual equipment included their Series 200
single channel VHF and UHF ATC radios; Series
400U V/UHF multi-channel radios configured for
Voice, Link 11, Link 4A and HaveQuick waveform;
and 2000 Series HF (150 watt and 500 watt
variants) configured for Voice; Military Waveforms
(Mil-Std 188-110 B etc.) and Link 11.
The EPM processors associated with this
equipment attempt to reduce or eliminate jamming
from opposing aircraft, missiles, ships and ground
The original Phase 1 equipment was contracted
to have a Life of Type (LOT) of 20 years. Since the
first units were installed in 1996, this implies 2016
is an end date. Yet anecdotal evidence suggests that
some equipment continues to perform so well that a
potential LOT out to 2031 is being considered.
This was confirmed by Defence who told APDR
“Defence is aiming to extend the Life of Type of the
current system, given the reliability experienced to
date. This will be informed by the RPDE task.”
Both BAE Systems and Rohde & Schwarz have
independently confirmed to APDR that they will be
able to continue their support until 2032, if this is
required by Defence.
The public version of Defence Capability Plan 2012
indicates that ‘Phase 2 is a technology refresh for
the UHF/VHF/HF communication systems delivered
under Phase 1.
"This phase also plans to assess the need to
replace radios procured through minor projects and
operating budgets and subsequently incorporated
into the Australian Military Airspace Communications
and Control System (AMACCS) contract. The
radios incorporated into the AMACCS contract
were procured over a number of years and it is not
anticipated that a wholesale replacement project
is required. Priority will be given to functional
areas where it is assessed there is a more urgent
‘The following four functional areas will be assessed:
Air Traffic Control; Air Defence Ground Environment;
Air Weapons Ranges; and Pilot Monitoring Facilities."
Asked by APDR what special planning is required
for these functional areas, their spokesperson said
“The main areas of need that require a technology
AUSTRALIAN MILITARY AIRSPACE
COMMUNICATIONS AND CONTROL
SYSTEM (AMACCS) - TECHNOLOGY
REFRESHGEOFF SLOCOMBE // VICTORIA
Self-evidently ADF aerospace battle management relies heavily on fixed and deployable radio communications for air operations.
Although communications equipment and software installed in the late 1990s was the latest then available, new and greatly
improved technology offers significant improvements in reach, performance, reliability, maintainability and potentially lower cost.
AIR 5397 PHASE 2
First Pass Approval for this project has slipped a couple of
years since it first appeared in a Defence Capability Plan
34 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter FEB 2014
28/01/14 3:22 PM
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