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Australia orders vehicle-mounted radars for NASAMS air-defense system

An Australian Army Hawkei protected mobility vehicle with a mock-up of a CEA Technologies tactical radar on display in March 2019. Photo: Australian defense ministry

Australia’s defense ministry has awarded Canberra-based company CEA Technologies an AU$137 million contract for the delivery of radars for the country’s new air-defense system.

The vehicle-mounted radars will be delivered in long and short range variants, with the short range variant to be mounted on the Australian-developed Thales Hawkei vehicle.

Once delivered, the radars will be part of Australia’s LAND 19 Phase 7B project that is aimed at delivering the Army-operated component of the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defence (JIAMD) capability.

National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) will replace the current short range air defense (SHORAD) capability, including the RBS-70, as the Army’s principal air defense weapon. While the Phase 7B solution will be able to operate independently, it will be designed to operate as a subset of the broader JIAMD capability and has a key project interdependency with the Joint Battle Management System to be delivered by project AIR 6500.

The project scope includes acquisition of new capability elements including radars, missile launchers and command & control systems, as well as integration with existing Army vehicles and radios.

LAND 19 Phase 7B achieved First Pass Government approval in February 2017 and Raytheon Australia was appointed as prime contractor. The government also directed that the project investigate the suitability of incorporating CEA Technologies’ Active Scanning Electronic Array (AESA) radars into NASAMS.

The project achieved Second Pass Government approval in February 2019, for the enhanced version of NASAMS. This included acquisition and integration of CEA Technologies’ radars.

“This air defense capability combines world leading Australian radar technology with a highly effective air defense system that will protect our service men and women from future airborne threats,” Australian defense minister Linda Reynolds said.

“I congratulate CEA for adapting these radars from those already in service with the Royal Australian Navy, confirming its reputation as an agile, innovative company and a key strategic partner for defense.”