UPDATED 1415 5/3/18 WITH BAE SYSTEMS COMMENTS
BAE Systems Australia has been awarded a contract valued at $1.2 billion to upgrade and support Australia’s high frequency over the horizon (OTHR) Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN).
The 10-year Project AIR 2025 Phase 6 contract award was announced on March 5 by Defence Minister, Senator Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne at the JORN Coordination Centre at RAAF Edinburgh.
The project will see key elements of the revolutionary systems re-designed including the incorporation of an open architecture backbone and new technology insertions.
BAE Systems has partnered with Raytheon Australia, Daronmont Technologies and RCR Tomlinson to deliver the upgrades and to maintain the capability. BAE Systems will leverage work it has done for the US Government’s fourth-generation multi-channel digital HF network for the JORN Phase 6 upgrade.
In addition, more than 20 Australian SMEs will participate in the supply chain to ensure broader Australian industry participation and a strong focus on innovation to support the upgrade.
BAE Systems’ Joint Open Innovation Network (JOIN) will also focus on activities to support the upgrade of JORN and the development of future JORN and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance capability.
The Company has committed to contribute up to $10 million to the initiative that involves partner universities – Flinders University, University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia – to support the creation of new Defence-focused courses and targeted research and development.
“The JORN Radar System is testament to the ingenuity, dedication and collaboration of Air Force operators, Australian scientists and Australian Industry over more than 50 years. It represents world leading technology that is unmatched by any other country,” Minister Payne said in a statement.
“This project will significantly re-design the JORN Radar capability and deliver on the Government’s commitment to ensuring our strategic advantage into the future as outlined in the 2016 Defence White Paper.”
Minister Pyne added, “The upgraded JORN system will be 100 per cent designed, developed and delivered in Australia, by Australians. BAE Systems will take Australian Defence science and technology research advancements from the lab to the operational environment.”
BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive, Gabby Costigan, added, “As a world leader in High Frequency radar technology, we are proud to have been selected to deliver an important upgrade to Australia’s most complex and critical Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability.
“Together with our partners, we are committed to ensuring a high level of Australian industry and academic participation in JORN. Our collaborative approach will allow for the application of rapidly developing technology to ensure Australia maintains a capability edge and superior situational awareness to ensure our northern approaches are secure.”
JORN is an over the horizon radar (OTHR) which bounces radar waves off the ionosphere, allowing the network to see aircraft and vessels 3,000km or more to the north of Australia.
The network has two operational radar sites located at Longreach in Queensland and Laverton in Central WA, while and a research site is located near Alice Springs. All three sites are controlled from the JORN Coordination Centre at Edinburgh.
Defence released a request for tender to BAE Systems Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia in April 2016 for the Phase 6 upgrade, and the announcement of the winning tender had initially been anticipated as early as last year’s Avalon Airshow, but was delayed to “late 2017 or early 2018”.