Boeing’s Currawong Battlespace Communications System has completed its first operational deployment, supporting the ADF security operations for the APEC leaders’ conference in Papua New Guinea.
Boeing delivered the new network under LAND 2072 Phase 2B, which included the core communication network software and hardware, along with 39 deployable communication nodes to date.
More than 700 communications specialists have now been trained to use the system, with ongoing support provided by Boeing field service representatives as part of the ongoing support contract. Multiple defence units are currently using the Currawong I-BTN during Army's largest annual exercise, Exercise Hamel 2018, in Shoalwater Bay.
Program director of Boeing Defence Australia’s Project Currawong Ian Vett said the rapid rate at which the system reached deployed operations since declaring initial operating capability in March spoke to the confidence the ADF has in the next-generation communications system.
"Our team is incredibly happy with the feedback we’ve received on Currawong’s first operational deployment. It proved itself to be a highly capable, reliable and mobile communications system that enabled the seamless flow of information," said Vett.
Currawong provided huge transfer capacity of voice, graphics, video and text data needed to support real-time situational awareness for Operation APEC Assist commanders and their staff.
Colonel Joanne Whittaker, Army Headquarters, stated tha the Army was impressed with the Currawong Integrated Battlespace Telecommunications Network System capability during the operation and that Boeing should be "very proud" of the first operational deployment of the Currawong System, where it worked reliably and effectively.
Lieutenant Colonel Blaydon Morris, Commanding Officer 1st Signal Regiment and the J6 for OP APEC, stated, "Noting this is the first operational deployment for Currawong, it was essential to the successful conduct of the operation. The flexibility it provided to Commander JTF658, Major General Paul McLachlan, in executing the mission was revolutionary and has proven a significant step forward in the ADF’s modernisation."
Vett echoed these sentiments stating, "We’re proud to have delivered a system that not only enables the timely receipt of accurate information but ensures that information is presented in a format that can be readily digested and shared to support the chain of command."
The successful operational deployment of Currawong to support APEC comes months after the system reached initial operating capability (IOC) earlier this year, just four months following the first material delivery of the platform.
Boeing Defence Australia vice president and managing director Darren Edwards said at the time, "The rapid implementation of the Australian-designed and manufactured communications network is testament to the high customer engagement during the product development and the expertise of Boeing's Australian team in delivering complex development systems."
The modern Currawong Battlespace Communications System replaces bulky, static and complicated legacy systems with a mobile, scalable and easy to operate ‘plug and play’ communications capability that can be quickly established in theatre.