Kym: Let’s start with current events and the Defence Strategic Review. What is the process for engaging with Army?

LTGEN Stuart: The reviewers are fully independent – and we are supplying answers to their questions. I’ve done that face-to-face, as have many of my colleagues. We have also organised ourselves to make sure we can answer any further questions they may have and provide the detail required for their deliberations. It’s a good opportunity for engagement and we have a lot to contribute about the environment in which we operate today and in the near future.

We need to explain how Army contributes to the Defence strategy and managing the tension between maintaining our current readiness while also preparing for tomorrow’s contingencies.

Q: There has been a lot of speculation in the media that the DSR is holding up projects such as LAND 400 Phase 3. Can you comment?

A: You are right – there has been a lot of speculation. What we know is that we are coming to the end of an exhaustive multi-year process for LAND 400 Phase 3, which is the last component of Army’s combined arms fighting system. This is pending a decision by government and is still the subject of a live tender. Overall, the scope and timeline has not changed – nor has the requirement for the capability to ensure that the ADF is relevant and credible in all warfighting domains.

Q: The other question on my list relating to a specific project is Army’s Battlegroup and Below Battle Management System. Can you update what is happening there?

A: You are referring to the Battlefield Command System, which has two key components. One is the tactical communications network and the other is the applications that support decision making. The latter is the Battle Management System – and we have learned a lot through our partnership with Elbit over more than a decade of interaction.

That has informed the requirements that we have for Phase 3 of LAND 200. At the top level that has three requirements: – Open architecture – Compatible with the US and other partners – Able to be used on our classified systems Experience to date has helped us refine those requirements for Phase 3, which is due to be considered by government for First Pass consideration in the fourth quarter of this year.

In the interim we have fielded a system that is based on in-service software. We have given it to our people – and as Australian soldiers always do, they have been innovative and produced a system that works. But to be clear, it is not a long-term solution. That’s why we are very focussed on making sure that we apply what we have learned to get the best possible outcome for Phase 3.

This is an excerpt from APDR. To read the full story, click here.

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Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.


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