$600m investment in new Navy information systems

Tuesday, 27 October, 2020

$600m investment in new Navy information systems

The Australian Government has invested over $600 million in strengthening the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) maritime communications with a new Fleet Information Environment. This includes upgrades to naval systems and computer networks, thus enhancing its ability to securely exchange information while at sea.

A further $100 million will be invested in additional infrastructure work in Darwin, Cairns, Rockingham, Canberra and Sydney. Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the upgrades are part of the government’s Economic Recovery Plan, which is creating jobs while delivering Navy with vital compatibility.

The investment is expected to create more than 100 new Australian high-tech jobs in areas such as computer systems design and engineering, and platform and system integration. The upgrades will provide faster, more capable and more secure computer-based information systems which ensure the ADF can operate in contested, congested and degraded information environments.

“As outlined in the 2020 Force Structure Plan, decision superiority in the maritime domain is essential for Defence’s ability to conduct operations. Deploying ships to sea presents unique information management challenges and requires computer networks that are designed to remain effective even in low-bandwidth or congested communications environments,” Minister Reynolds said.

The funding will provide greater levels of cybersecurity and operational efficiency for Navy operations, and create jobs for Australians to help boost the economy as it recovers from COVID-19. Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said Australian industry and Defence have worked closely to develop and build this capability.

“This investment in a new Fleet Information Environment will create more than 100 jobs and demonstrates our investment and plans, creating new opportunities, jobs and skills for Australians. We are backing Australian workers and Aussie businesses, creating a stronger defence industry on the road ahead,” Minister Price said.

The project will deliver new software and hardware, based on a design which allows the system to be continuously updated with the latest available technology out to 2040. A Deployed Network Integration Centre will be established in Canberra, enabling Australian companies to work in a collaborative environment with Defence, to test their products for future upgrades.

The first stage of the upgrades to Navy platforms will commence in 2021 with HMAS Leeuwin in regional Far North Queensland.

Image credit: RAN photo by ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez. © Commonwealth of Australia

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