Page 92 - Australian Defence Magazine September 2018
P. 92

“Projects Land 159 and Land 4108 present
an opportunity to acquire and integrate new and improved soldier systems, progressively rolled out from 2023 to 2028.”
for a lot of personnel at fraction of the cost of Future Submarines or the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.
In all, the projects cover 21 different weapon systems. Also being considered are the enabling capabilities such as the full suite of integration requirements in- cluding; platform, digital and ancillary, training and training simulation and mu- nitions.
The Soldier Combat System Program in Army Headquarters owns the two proj- ects. Lieutenant Colonel Adam Gower, who runs the two projects out of Army headquarters, said the projects have been grouped together as they represented an opportunity to refresh all of the ADF small arms and direct fire support weapons fleets.
“That’s not just the assault rifle but every- thing from pistols to machine guns to snip- er weapon systems,” LTCOL Gower said.
Lieutenant Colonel Byron Cocksedge, integrated project manager for the two projects within the Soldier Combat Sys- tem Program is working closely with their counterparts in the Defence Capabil- ity Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG). LTCOL Cocksedge said they were taking a systems of systems approach, with the soldier at the centre.
“For the soldier combat system there are six pillars – lethality, mobility, surviv- ability, situational awareness, sustainabil-
Private Jeremy Foster, 6RAR provides covering fire during a contact while conducting an urban clearance at Shoalwater Bay Training Area as part of Exercise Hamel 2018.
LTCOL Cocksedge said the first industry engagement was held in November, fol- lowed by the first request for information.
“We are seeking information from industry on how they may be able to ap- proach both projects in an innovative way, to be either a managing contractor, a prime systems integrator or a prime vendor and be able to provide all the capability or sev- eral capability streams,” he said. “We had 34 responses to the Request for Informa- tion, which was pretty encouraging.”
tical 2 in .338 Lapua Magnum, Knight Armaments SR-25 in 7.62 NATO and Ac- curacy International SR-98, also in 7.62 NATO.
The standard infantry rifle is the re- cently introduced into service enhanced F88 (EF-88). It is progressively replacing the Steyr F88, originally acquired in the late 1980s to replace the L1A1 SLR rifle, which was adopted in the late 1950s. The original rifles were a licence-produced ver- sion of the Austrian Steyr AUG, manu- factured by ADI, now Thales, at Lithgow, NSW and rolled out across the ADF in late 1980s and early 1990s.
Under project Land 125 Phase 3C, the F88 was upgraded to what is now termed the Enhanced F-88 (EF-88), with sec- ond pass approval in 2015. This is a very different rifle to that which soldiers car- ried in Somalia and East Timor, with its fixed optical sight and limited ability to attach accessories.
The operating mechanism remains the same but EF-88 features a range of improvements, most obviously the long top rail for easy attachment of optical sights, image intensifiers or thermal sights and the under barrel mount for a grenade launcher.
LTCOL Gower explained that Army is about to start the third tranche of EF-88 deliveries. Tranche one delivered the EF- 88 to units in North Queensland, includ- ing the 3rd Brigade and its supporting ele- ments and other local units.
Tranche two delivered to south-east Queensland, including 7th and 17th Bri- gades and some of their reinforcing Army
ity and , training and doctrine,” he said. “Land 159 and Land 4108 sit in the le- thality pillar. Rather than trying to think in traditional terms of pure projects, we are looking at and integrated and opti- mised system of systems of capabilities for the soldiers.
“In other areas it may be there is new and emerging technology that means we can deliver more precise lethal effects much more easily and in a way that means our soldiers expose themselves less to danger.”
The two projects kicked off last year, with Gate Zero achieved in the third quar- ter. Gate Two is not until 2022 followed by the rollout of the capability in due course.
The second industry engagement event was held at the end of July this year to provide an update on developments since November and outline some of the emerging user requirements.
The ADF fields a wide range of small arms and infantry weapons, many acquired over the last two decades to meet particular op- erational requirements.
Where once the Army operated a single precision rifle system, it now has five – the Heckler and Koch HK417 designated marksman rifle in 7.62 NATO, AW50F anti-materiel rifle in 50BMG, Blaser Tac-
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