$1b soldier equipment project for ADF receives approval

Australian soldiers. Source: defence.gov.au

The federal government has approved a project that aims to continuously enhance and improve the equipment used by the Australian Defence Force.

The Integrated Soldier Systems project, valued at up to $1 billion, will involve the delivery of a wide range of equipment for use by the Australian Army personnel over a period of 13 years.

“We’re taking a flexible approach here, investing up to $240 million between now and 2023, with the flexibility to update and change things as technology develops into the future,” defence minister Christopher Pyne said.

The first tranche will deliver supplements to the basic equipment used by soldiers, and will include body armour, helmets, hearing and eye protection and load carriage equipment, as well as field equipment like water purifiers, helmet torches, storage bags, cooking gear, and sleeping bags.

The project will also continue to enhance the basic equipment used by soldiers to keep it up to date, as well as potentially hand-held translators, portable unmanned aerial vehicles and ideas like exoskeletons or “mule” unmanned vehicles to help soldiers carry their equipment.

“This investment under Land 125 Phase 4 will ensure our soldiers have the mobility and protection to deploy quickly and achieve their mission as an integral component of the ADF,” Pyne said.

“Delivery of the subsequent tranches will be subject to a range of variables centred on incorporating emerging technologies, some yet to be fully developed, to ensure our soldiers continue to have the best capabilities available.”

The open Request for Tender to establish a prime vendor for the Supply of ADF Field Equipment will be released to market through AusTender.