Canberra Approves A$550 Million for Four Defense Modernization Programs


The Australian Government has approved spending A$550 million on four major Defense programs. When complete, these projects are estimated to involve expenditure of around $3 billion.

The projects include the acquisition of over 950 new 4×4 G Wagon vehicles and associated trailers for training purposes, as part of the Land 121 Phase 5A (Light and Lightweight Tactical Training Vehicles under Land). The supplier is Mercedes Benz Australia Pacific Pty Ltd. The approved value is around $425 million. The Australian industry component will include trailers and training modules. This segment is worth more than $100 million, including modules to be supplied by G. H. Varley Pty Ltd in New South Wales and trailers sourced from Queensland-based Haulmark Trailers.

The modernization of air defense systems employed with current and future fleet (SEA 4000 Phase 3.2), including the upgrading of the Australian Navy current long range Standard Missile-2 (SM2) air defense missile systems, for future use by the Air Warfare Destroyers and funding A$20 million for a collaborative international study into the upgrade of the air defense Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) fitted to the ANZAC Class frigates and Air Warfare Destroyers as part of project SEA 1352. The SM2 program, under the Australian SEA 4000 Phase 3.2 project is valued at around $100 million and will be acquired under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) arrangements with the United States.

The ESSM upgrade study is run by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Sea Sparrow Project Office. The total cost of Project SEA 1352 Phase 1 is cost capped between $1 billion and $2 billion in the Public Defence Capability Plan.

The fourth program approved today is part of an Enhanced Military Satellite Capability for the Australian Defence Force (ADF), including transportable land satellite communications terminals and upgrades for satellite communications on Navy platforms. This new capability under ‘Joint Project 2008’ Phase 5B is expected to provide wide-band satellite communications capability, based on the US Wide-band Global Satellite Communications network co-funded by the Australian Government. The $12 million approved today for Phase 5B cover the acquisition of transportable land terminals to equip ADF elements, upgrades for the satellite communications fit on Royal Australian Navy platforms and the establishment of a satellite communications network management system. The work includes project development and risk mitigation studies related to the potential upgrade of the Geraldton ground station and a new ground station facility in Eastern Australia. The total cost of Joint Project 2008 Phase 5B is cost capped between $300 million and $500 million in the Public Defence Capability Plan.