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Update: Australia removing Elbit software from army's battle management system

Elbit Systems Australia (ELSA) has been formally advised that the software it has provided for the Australian Army’s digital battle management system (BMS) under Project Land 200 will be removed from service as of 15 May, sources confirmed to Janes on 3 May.

ELSA was informed of the decision in mid-April, both in a directive from army headquarters and in a meeting with senior army officers and executives from the Department of Defence’s (DoD’s) Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), according to the sources.

Land 200 is a multibillion, multitranche programme designed to link sensors, weapon systems, and commanders and their personnel in a networked environment.

The programme began in 2011 combining three projects, with ELSA – a wholly owned subsidiary of Israeli defence electronics company Elbit Systems – winning an AUD764 million (USD591 million) ‘Tranche 2’ contract in 2017 to enhance the BMS software it had delivered under ‘Tranche 1’, together with a through-life support contract for up to 12 years.

Sources said concerns over the past two years about contractual disputes, technology, and possible ‘backdoor’ security issues, had led to the break. The DoD has emphasised that the actions relating to ELSA do not involve any other Israeli companies or equipment.

In a statement released on 5 May, ELSA Managing Director Major-General Paul McLachlan (rtd) said the company “strongly refutes the security rumours raised in recent media articles”, while emphasising that ELSA “utilises secure software development processes in collaboration with the Department of Defence, including the provision of all source code”.

The DoD in Canberra failed to respond to questions on the current situation, which will leave the Australian Army without its digital backbone for command and control (C2) at the battlegroup level and below.

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