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Defence issues RFP for Personal ECM

Australian Army soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021. Their vulnerability to IEDs is obvious, as is the load they already carry. Photo: Defence

The Australian Army and the Defence Innovation Hub have issued a request for Proposals (RFP) that will help Defence explore next-generation Personal Electronic Countermeasures (Personal ECM) systems. In the current rapidly evolving threat environment, improving size, weight and power (SWAP) factors have brought Personal ECM to the edge of technical feasibility. Therefore, Defence is seeking innovative solutions for a next-generation Personal ECM system to provide protection to individual ADF personnel.

The objective of this RFP is to down-select a number of Respondents who can deliver a prototype system for the Australian Army within 18 months after contract commencement. Respondents may need to satisfy security requirements to review and hold information classified up to SECRET. This material has limited release to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

This challenge will leverage innovative technology to provide a Personal ECM system able to protect individual ADF personnel against an evolving Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) threat. The future Personal ECM system must be able to inhibit multiple RCIED triggers, be modular and sufficiently agile to meet changes in those triggers, and be configurable to reliably operate in various environments.

Next Generation Personal ECM systems must also be able to counter emerging and future vulnerabilities and threats, whilst minimising impact on an individual’s mobility. They must also be interoperable with other radio frequency (RF) and electrical systems, and able to log operational data to support exploitation.

Respondents are encouraged to collaborate with subject matter experts in ECM.

Defence has listed a number of key design goals:

  • ADF individuals need minimal impact to their tactical mobility. This means that a total weight of 1-2kg is considered ideal
  • RCIED threats are constantly evolving. Solutions need to consider how the system will undergo software and hardware upgrades over its life of type.
  • ADF individuals will perform a variety of tasks whilst under the protection of Personal ECM. The solutions offered need to consider the ease of use of the system by an operator, including the ability to quickly identify that the system is operational and the ability to rapidly load different RCIED defeat protocols/waveforms.

Defence would prefer proposals based on products that are reasonably technologically mature, i.e. at TRL 4 (component and/or breadboard laboratory validated) to TRL 6 (system adequacy validated in a simulated environment). Proposals at lower levels of technological maturity are unlikely to be able to be demonstrated within the preferred 18-month timeframe.

Respondents must have a valid ABN or NZBN; to submit a response to this RFP use the ‘Special Notice Proposal Submission Form’ available at by 12:00 noon (local time in the Australian Capital Territory) on Thursday 14 October 2021.

For further information on user needs and specifications go to the Special Notice at

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