The Australian Government has granted a combined first and second pass approval for Land 19 Phase 7A-counter rocket, artillery and mortar system (C-RAM) sense and warn capability project.
The approvals provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with approximately $325m to maintain the C-RAM sense and warn capability for use on future operations.
Initially purchased as an accelerated acquisition in 2010 for ADF force protection in Afghanistan, the C-RAM sense and warn enables early detection and warning of incoming indirect fire threats, while providing soldiers with time to evade danger, minimising potential casualties.
The capability consists of Giraffe agile multi-beam radars, lightweight counter mortar radars, as well as command and control, and warning equipment.
Australian Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said the capability has been used at forward operating and patrol bases in Afghanistan, including Multi-National Base Tarin Kowt and a number of patrol bases in Uruzgan province.
Andrews Said: "The system effectively detected rocket, artillery, and mortar threats falling within these bases.
"It provided warning to Australian and Coalition troops, enabling personnel to seek cover, which significantly reduced the risk of injury or death."
The Australian Government is currently in talks with the preferred bidder Saab Systems Australia, regarding the through-life support arrangements for C-RAM capability.
Saab is planning to employ approximately four personnel for the contract, which is anticipated to be finalised in September.
The government has accordingly prioritised funding for C-RAM capability ahead of the 2015 Defence White Paper, to provide protection to deployed personnel particularly given the increasingly complex operating environments.