The Australian Department of Defence has entered into an A$26.9m ($20.72m) agreement with L-3 Micreo for its new and advanced Silvershield force protection capability designed to protect against the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Developed under the REDWING programme, the Silvershield system is an advanced vehicle mounted technology developed to offer additional protection against mobile phone IED threats for Afghanistan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF).

Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said: “REDWING is a programme of specialised force protection systems designed by the Defence Science and Technology Group to counter specific radio-controlled IEDs in support of ANDSF.

“Silvershield system has undergone testing in Australia and Afghanistan, with the development team working in close collaboration with operators on the ground.”

“IEDs continue to be the weapon of choice for insurgents in Afghanistan and due to their nature will likely remain a persistent and evolving threat to the ANDSF.”

“For this reason the REDWING programme will continue to research and develop new product variants to meet this evolving threat.”

Payne further said that Silvershield system has undergone testing in Australia and Afghanistan, with the development team working in close collaboration with operators on the ground.

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Payne said: “Silvershield’s expedient production demonstrates Australian industry’s ability to meet and surpass the challenge of high-volume and time-critical manufacturing.”

Under the current deal, L-3 Micreo will produce a total of 13,000 Silvershield systems in Australia.

Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said: “Together with previous years, this will bring the total value of REDWING generated Australian exports to greater than A$84m ($64.71m).”

Since 2015, the REDWING programme has successfully produced and supplied more than 180,000 life-saving systems to the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, National Directorate of Security and Afghanistan Parliamentary Security Forces.