The Federal Government will invest more than $600 million in a new Fleet Information Environment to strengthen the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) maritime communications.
The investment envisions upgrades to naval systems and computer networks, with a further $100 million to be invested in additional infrastructure work in Darwin, Cairns, Rockingham, Canberra and Sydney.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said 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.
“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,” the Minister continued.
“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.
“This significant funding by the Morrison Government will provide greater levels of cyber security and operational efficiency which are crucial for Navy operations now and into the future.
“Importantly, this investment is creating jobs for Australians to help boost the economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said 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.
According to the Minister, a Deployed Network Integration Centre will also 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.
“Australian industry and Defence have worked closely on developing and building this capability,” Minister Price noted.
“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.”
The first stage of the upgrades to Navy platforms will begin in 2021 with HMAS Leeuwin in regional Far North Queensland.