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Babcock selected for Australian high-frequency communications programme

Babcock has been selected by Australia to provide next-generation high-frequency communications capability. The project includes enabling land platforms (such as this Australian Army M777) to operate in a SATCOM-denied environment. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Babcock has been selected by Canberra as the preferred tenderer to upgrade and sustain the Australian Defence Force's (ADF's) Enhanced Defence High Frequency Communications System (EDHFCS), the company announced on 7 December.

Babcock said it plans to undertake the work through its local subsidiary, Babcock Australasia, in co-operation with Lockheed Martin. The anticipated contract, which is under negotiation between Babcock and the Australian government, will run for 10 years, with four two-year extension options.

The company said its response to the EDHFCS requirement will deliver an “upgraded system [that] provides effective long-range communications capability for Australia's land, sea, and air assets”. Babcock added that the pending deal builds on its provision of similar high-frequency (HF) communications solutions for defence customers in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

The EDHFCS programme is framed by Australia's Joint Project 9101, also known as Project Phoenix, which seeks to replace the existing HF communication system that entered service in 2004 and will reach its effective end of life in 2025.

Joint Project 9101 is budgeted at between AUD1 billion and AUD2 billion (USD650 million and USD1.3 billion), with initial operational capability (IOC) scheduled for 2025 and full operational capability anticipated in 2030.

Janes has previously reported that in addition to Babcock and Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defence Australia and BAE Systems Australia had previously disclosed that they had partnered in bidding for the EDHFCS contract.

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