skip to main content

Land Forces 2021: ELSA, Australian DoD in talks over BMS software removal

The Managing Director of Elbit Systems Australia (ELSA) has commented on the controversial removal from service of software provided by the company to the Australian Army's digital battle management system (BMS), saying high-level talks are under way with senior members of the Department of Defence (DoD).

Speaking to reporters on 2 June at the Land Forces 21 exposition in Brisbane, Major General Paul McLachlan (retd) said that more than anything, the company is fundamentally committed to fixing any problems. We're engaged in positive discussions with senior levels of defence.

ELSA was advised in mid-April, both in a directive from army headquarters and in a meeting with senior army officers and executives from the DoD's Capability and Sustainment Group (CASG), that the company's software would be removed from the BMS by 15 May.

Sources said concerns over the past two years about contractual disputes, technology, and possible backdoor security issues, had led to the break.

Anyone who writes combat software that is going to be deliberately attacked by an opponent and says there are never any vulnerabilities would be wrong.

But we have some very robust software and security development procedures that we're doing in lockstep with the Commonwealth and we're making absolutely every assurance that security vulnerabilities are being dealt with,” said McLachlan, who referred to unnamed, unsubstantiated sources as being responsible for what he termed shrill and hysterical accusations about us being involved in espionage”.

Certainly, from my perspective I continue to refute that there is any sort of security backdoor, he noted.

That said, McLachlan did not disclose the DoD's specific concerns, stating that ELSA was still trying to discover exactly what they were and where we're going.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...