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Canberra firm tapped to supply long-range radars

written by Charbel Kadib | July 22, 2022

AIR6500 Phase 1 will provide the ADF with a Joint Air Battle Management System (Defence)

Defence has awarded CEA Technologies a contract to develop four radars capable of detecting aircraft and missiles at long range.

The deal with the Canberra-based business forms part of the federal government’s $2.7 billion Joint Air Battle Management System project, intended to improve Australia’s ability to defend itself against aerial attacks. Its development is due to ongoing advances in technology from countries around the world, which are increasingly utilising smarter missiles, drones, and space technology.

The new announcement means CEA will provide its ‘Active Electronically Scanned Array’ radar, which is hoped will enhance situational awareness and interoperability across the joint force and with allies.

Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said the agreement would contribute to growing the CEA Technologies workforce from 530 to more than 800 staff.

It also builds on CEA’s previous work with Defence, with the company’s radar technology currently installed on the Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac Class frigates.

“The expansion of CEA Technologies into ground-based sensor applications using the same proven technologies demonstrates the strength of Australia’s defence industry,” Minister Conroy added.

Lockheed Martin is currently in the final two of the main competition to be awarded the Joint Air Battle Management System, AIR6500 Phase 1 project, along with Northrop Grumman. The pair initially saw off Boeing and Raytheon, which participated in the first phase of the evaluation process. A final decision is expected in 2023.

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The award of this new contract to CEA comes just days after Defence confirmed Raytheon Australia has been selected to upgrade the Australian Army’s existing fleet of Thales-built Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles as part of the $75 million Land Force Level Electronic Warfare Project.

The work, which forms part of Project Land 555 Phase 6, involves integrating the vehicles with electronic warfare (EW) systems, designed to enable monitoring and controlling of the electronic environment while also undermining the electronic systems of adversaries.

Local industry is expected to help supply material and deliver training and maintenance support, with the project tipped to generate $46 million for Australia’s sovereign defence industrial base.

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