The federal government has signed off on $500 million to fund a new high-tech testing facility in Adelaide that will make sure the Australian Defence Force’s electronic warfare systems are capable of standing up to modern threats.
The major combat simulation campus will be used to test and analyse the electronic combat systems used by the Australian Army and Navy under mock wartime conditions.
The government claims it will “significantly sharpen” the ability of Navy ships and ground units to deal with increasingly sophisticated electronic threats aimed at disrupting weapons and equipment in the battlefield.
It will provide new tools and laboratories to conduct the top secret operations, the bulk of which will be delivered by key project partners BAE Systems and Ultra Electronics Avalon Systems.
The federal government has insisted that three-quarters of the entire budget for the facility - to be built under the moniker 'Joint Project 500 phase 2A' - will be spent onshore.
“The facility and systems delivered will be operated and sustained by Defence scientists, military personnel, public servants and Australian industry,” Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said in a statement.
Defence said there were still opportunities for Australian businesses - particularly SMEs - to win work on the wargames simulation facility, which will be located within the SA capital’s Edinburgh RAAF base.
The department said it will likely still need help in ongoing operation and sustainment of the facility from local companies, and will require contractors to assist with specialised electronic threat modelling and simulation activities.
“This project will better prepare the Australian Defence Force to conduct operations in areas where advanced threats such as missiles could threaten lives and assets and will also provide a significant boost to ADF capabilities,” Defence Minister Marise Payne said in a statement.
“Many of the electronic warfare support systems to be acquired by this project will be portable and capable of operation within Australian ranges and training areas.”