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Australia is constructing new facilities to enhance the country’s counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) capability.

The facilities, to be built at an estimated cost of $25m, will be used for the testing, evaluation, training and maintenance of force protection electronic countermeasures equipment, while meeting defence capability requirements up to 2050.

The Australian defence minister’s parliamentary secretary Darren Chester said: "Improvised explosive devices remain a key threat to the safety of our Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel operating in areas of conflict.

"The facilities delivered under this project will enable the Defence Force to maintain technologically advanced counter-IED equipment, which will ensure our soldiers have the highest level of force protection when on operations."

A specialised test and evaluation facility at Nurrungar, South Australia, will be an important element of the project, with work beginning in mid-2015 and running through to the following year.

"Improvised explosive devices remain a key threat to the safety of our Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel operating in areas of conflict."

The construction work at Edinburgh, South Australia, and Watsonia, Victoria, as well as Moorebank, New South Wales, has already been completed. Work is underway at other sites across Australia.

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"Contracts for the facilities and infrastructure works will be tendered to the open market in due course and the Commonwealth’s indigenous opportunities policy will apply," Chester added.

Earlier this week, the Australian Government granted the first pass approval for the the Land 154 phase two joint counter-improvised explosive device programme, which aims to enable ADF personnel to rapidly deploy appropriate C-IED systems without relying on allied partners.

The approval includes $19.5m for a range of capability development activities, trials, risk reduction activities and industry solicitation.

Image: An Australian soldier mentors Afghan soldiers in counter-IED measures at the IED training lane in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan. Photo: courtesy of corporal (CPL) Rachel Ingram / the Commonwealth of Australia.

Defence Technology