Progress on the tender decision for the billion-dollar AIR 2025 Phase 6 Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) project remains unclear, with Defence and the two project contenders unable to provide an expected timeframe.
Both BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin Australia were unable to provide Defence Connect with comment on the project, which is on the Department of Defence's portfolio budget statements second pass approvals for 2017-18.
JORN is a world-class over-the-horizon radar (OTHR) that delivers visibility over Australia’s northern approaches, with a pedigree dating back to the 1970s when DSTO (now DST Group) started researching the technology.
The state-of-the-art system provides wide area surveillance at ranges of 1,000 to 3,000 kilometres and plays a vital role in supporting the Australian Defence Force’s air and maritime operations, border protection, disaster relief and search and rescue operations.
Supported by a control centre at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, the radars are located in three remote Australian locations including Laverton (Western Australia), Alice Springs (Northern Territory) and Longreach (Queensland),
The mammoth AIR 2025 Phase 6 project will support the operational life of JORN beyond 2042, with work expected to commence in 2018.
The project will improve the performance of JORN and involves the replacement of most of the radar and frequency management system hardware, information and communication technology hardware, the upgrade of software architecture and processing, as well as other specialised optional enhancements.
Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems Australia are already engaged on current JORN contracts, with BAE Systems Australia responsible for maintenance and sustainment of the Alice Springs location. Lockheed Martin services the Longreach and Laverton locations, with the co-ordination centre at RAAF Edinburgh being shared between BAE systems and Lockheed Martin.