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Australia gives initial approval for battlefield command project

Australian Army officers work in the joint operations room at Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane in November 2016. The Australian Army's battlefield management capabilities are expected to improve under the LAND 200 Phase 3 Battlefield Command Systems project, which received the government's preliminary budget approval on 13 July. ( Commonwealth of Australia/SGT Janine Fabre)

The Australian government has given a‘first-pass' or initial approval for the Department of Defence's (DoD's) LAND 200 Phase 3 Battlefield Command Systems project that aims to improve the communications and command-and-control (C2) capabilities of the Australian Army.

The approval – delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic – was announced by the DoD on 13 July. The DoD said that it will issue an open tender later in 2023 for an integration partner for the project.

The DoD added that the project is the “heart of Australia's Army military digital evolution”, and will provide battle management systems (BMSs) and an integrated tactical communications network to the Australian Army.

The DoD said that in addition to increasing the speed and quality of decision making, these systems will enhance communication and co-ordination within the army and between the “land, sea, air, space, and cyber elements” of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

According to the DoD, a BMS is a digital planning and monitoring system with a battle map displaying combat-related data including overlays, orders, messages, and blue and red force tracks. The tactical communications network will provide a mobile and secure communications infrastructure that enables voice and data distribution of the BMS and other combat systems such as the Army Field Artillery Tactical Data System.

An earlier Australian National Office Audit (ANAO) report indicates that the LAND 200 Phase 3 project is expected to cost between AUD1 billion (USD674.3 million) and AUD2 billion.

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