Contract challenges put OneSKY on Projects of Concern list

Royal Australian Air Force air traffic controllers, Flying Officer Ebrahim Tabandeh (sitting) and Flight Lieutenant Gavin Cowie, oversee aircraft movements at RAAF base Tindal, Northern Territory, for Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015.The project that is intended to provide the Defence element of the national Civil Military Air Traffic Management System under the OneSKY Australia program has been added to the Projects of Concern list due to difficulties encountered in agreeing a contract.

AIR 5431 Phase 3 was approved back in 2014 to deliver the Defence aspects of the harmonised civil-military system as part of the program that is managed by Airservices Australia.

“This is a highly complex, inter-departmental project of national significance that has experienced some substantial challenges getting into contract,” stated Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne and Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne in a joint statement.

“The challenges revolve around issues with ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.”

The Defence Portfolio Budget Statements 2017-18 stated that negotiations with the preferred tenderer – Thales Australia – to bring the capability, cost and schedule of the project within the parameters agreed by Government at second pass would continue.

Meanwhile, the AIR 5431 Phase 1 Deployable Defence Air Traffic Management and Control System project has also been added to the Projects of Concern list.

Indra was awarded this project in 2014 to deliver a mix of mobile and transportable air traffic control radars and supporting equipment to allow Defence to control and monitor air traffic while deployed on operations.

“The project has experienced schedule delays since approval, and initial delivery is expected almost two years later than originally planned,” the Ministers said.

The addition of the two projects to the Projects of Concern list is unrelated, although they are part of the same program.