Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have announced a $600 million investment into strengthening the Australian Defence Force’s maritime communications as part of a new Fleet Information Environment.
This will include upgrades to naval systems and computer networks, enhancing its ability to securely and reliably exchange information while at sea, more than 100 new Australian high-tech jobs will be created through this investment in areas such as computer systems design and engineering, and platform and system integration.
As part of this investment, the government has committed an additional $100 million to be invested in infrastructure work in Darwin, Cairns, Rockingham, Canberra and Sydney.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the upgrades are part of the Morrison government’s Economic Recovery Plan, which is creating jobs while delivering Navy with vital capability: "These upgrades will provide our sailors with faster, more capable and more secure computer based information systems, which are all vital in ensuring our 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 require computer networks that are designed to remain effective even in low bandwidth or congested communications environments."
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price explained the investment was further evidence of the Morrison government’s commitment to growing Australia’s defence industry.
"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 explained.
The project will deliver new software and hardware, based on a design which allows the system to be continuously updated and upgraded with the latest available technology out to 2040. A Deployed Network Integration Centre will be established in Canberra where Australian companies will be able to work in a collaborative environment with Defence on testing their products for future upgrades.
Minister Price added, "We are backing Australian workers and Aussie businesses, creating a stronger defence industry on the road ahead."
The first stage of the upgrades to Navy platforms will commence in 2021 with HMAS Leeuwin in regional far north Queensland.