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BAE Systems, CryoClock tapped to enhance JORN capability

Defence has awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to the firms for the development of ultra-high-precision Sapphire Clock technology for the JORN system.

Defence has awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to the firms for the development of ultra-high-precision Sapphire Clock technology for the JORN system.

BAE Systems Australia and CryoClock have secured a $4.8 million contract to enhance the performance of Australia’s Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN).


The firms have been tasked with developing ultra-high-precision Sapphire Clock technology, capable of improving detection capability.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the contract forms part of the federal government’s commitment to bolstering opportunities for local industry.

“[The] announcement demonstrates the Morrison government’s commitment to providing Australian companies greater opportunity to win work in high-value, high-tech projects that support the development of Australia’s sovereign defence industrial base,” Minister Reynolds said.

“The Sapphire Clock is more precise than current available commercial timing systems. When used within a radar system like the JORN, it has the potential to improve detection performance across Australia’s northern approaches.”

CryoClock’s technology can also be leveraged by other industries, including advanced computing and scientific research sectors.


“I had the pleasure of meeting Emeritus Professor David Blair, an Australian physicist who invented the first Sapphire Clock in 1984, during a visit to the OzGrav-UWA centre in Gingin, Western Australia, last week,” Minister Reynolds continued.

“It is fascinating that this extremely precise timepiece, which was designed for improving clocks, radars and measuring systems, has the potential to be used in radar systems such as JORN.”

JORN operates as a strategic defence-wide area surveillance system that surveys the northern air and sea approaches of Australia out to a range of 3,000 kilometres. 

The radar system is remotely operated from RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, with three radar sites located in Longreach (Queensland), Laverton (WA) and Alice Springs (NT).

“This contract is part of this government’s $270 billion investment in defence capability over the next decade which is creating new jobs and delivering more opportunities for small businesses to thrive,” Minister Reynolds said.

“If successful, follow-on work is expected which will see a production and integration contract for the incorporation of the technology into JORN under Defence’s AIR 2025 Phase 6 upgrade project.”

CryoClock’s selection to support the program comes amid the firm’s relocation into South Australia’s innovation precinct at LOT 14, alongside the Australian Space Agency and other advanced technology companies.

[Related: Defence partners with BAE Systems to enhance radar capability]

BAE Systems, CryoClock tapped to enhance JORN capability
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