The Australian Department of Defence has awarded a contract to Chemring Australia to deliver backpack electronic surveillance system for soldiers.

The $18m contract includes the supply of up to 50 systems for the Australian Army.

Australia Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said: “This replacement of an obsolete system as part of a wider army electronic warfare capability upgrade will significantly improve the army’s situational awareness in the field.”

Chemring's backpack systems will be able to detect, identify and determine the direction of communication signals in the field, as well as provide information to other electronic warfare command units.

"This replacement of an obsolete system will significantly improve the army’s situational awareness."

The solution will allow soldiers to perform electronic surveillance operations and network with other Australian Defence Force electronic warfare capabilities.

The backpack electronic surveillance system will comprise assault back-packs designed by Diggerworks and transport and storage systems provided by Trimcast, the Department of Defence said in a statement.

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Chemring will assemble the electronic surveillance back-pack system at its facilities in Victoria.

Pyne added: “When all systems are delivered, approximately one million dollars will be spent locally on sustainment activities per year, with around 50% of the $28m total life-time programme cost being spent in Australia.”

Deliveries under the contract will take place during the next 18 months.

Image: Australian soldiers during a military operation. Photo: courtesy of Corporal Raymond Vance 1st Joint Public Affairs Unit Australian Defence Force.