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Defence backing Australian SME team in Army project

Australian soldiers conduct radio checks at the Taji Military Complex, Iraq. Australia’s C4 EDGE industry team will demonstrate a sovereign communications solution for the Army at the end of 2021. Photo: Defence.

The Australian Government is investing up to $35 million in the remaining phase of a program in which 18 small businesses are designing, developing and manufacturing a military communications prototype.
The Command, Control, Communications and Computing Evolutionary Digital Ground Environment (C4 EDGE) program highlights Australian industry’s ability to deliver critical sovereign communication solutions for the Australian Army. The team is led by Canberra-based EOS Defence Systems Pty Limited and sponsored by the Australian Army.

The C4 EDGE team will demonstrate in November 2021 a sovereign command and control capability at Army battlegroup level and below. In particular, the Army is looking for sovereign control over critical technologies such as blue force tracking, radio wave forms and cryptography.

The pay-off to Australian industry if C4 EDGE succeeds is a potential share in $8.6 billions-worth of future Army C4 projects in the FSP.

Defence invested $3.85 million in the first phase of the C4 EDGE project, which concluded in early October, with all deliverables completed on schedule and within budget.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the C4 EDGE program had enabled small businesses from almost every state and territory to collaborate on developing this proof-of-concept system. Software and hardware builds and testing activities will follow.

“Up to 53 jobs are expected to be generated across the project’s entire 18-month lifespan, which will include local design and manufacturing of critical defence capabilities, such as mobile tactical communications systems,” Minister Price said.

“The remaining phase of the project includes the development of the tactical communications prototype, which includes waveform, cryptography, satellite-enabled friendly-force tracking, radio and hardware manufacture.”

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