USE THIS ONETo enhance the performance of Australia’s Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN), the Australian government has awarded BAE Systems Australia and CryoClock a A$4.8 million contract to develop ultra-high-precision Sapphire Clock technology.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds. (PHOTO: Government Photo)

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the project reflects the government’s ongoing commitment to maximising opportunities for Australian industry. “The Sapphire Clock is more precise than current available commercial timing systems. When used within a radar system like the JORN, it has the potential to improve detection performance across Australia’s northern approaches. CryoClock’s leading-edge technology also has the potential to be used beyond Defence including in the communications, advanced computing and scientific research sectors. I had the pleasure of meeting Emeritus Professor David Blair, an Australian physicist who invented the first Sapphire Clock in 1984, during a visit to the OzGrav-UWA centre in Gingin, Western Australia last week. It is fascinating that this extremely precise timepiece, which was designed for improving clocks, radars and measuring systems, has the potential to be used in radar systems such as JORN.”

One of the three JORN sites.

JORN is a vital strategic defence-wide area surveillance system that surveys the northern air and sea approaches of Australia out to a range of 3,000 kilometres. It is remotely operated from RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, with three radar sites located in Longreach (Qld), Laverton (WA) and Alice Springs (NT).

“This contract is part of this government’s A$270 billion investment in defence capability over the next decade which is creating new jobs and delivering more opportunities for small businesses to thrive,” Reynolds said. “If successful, follow-on work is expected which will see a production and integration contract for the incorporation of the technology into JORN under Defence’s AIR2025 Phase 6 upgrade project.”

Defence’s investment in the technology coincides with CryoClock’s relocation into South Australia’s high-tech innovation precinct at LOT 14 alongside the Australian Space Agency and some of Australia’s most advanced technology companies. For further information on CryoClock, visit


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