Speaking to the media in Brisbane, Elbit Australia CEO Paul McLachlan stated emphatically that the company’s Battle Management System did not have a software back door that would allow third parties to access classified data. He said this has been confirmed during Senate Estimates hearings by the Defence Chief Information Officer. He said that the stories claiming that security concerns were behind Army withdrawing some Elbit software and hardware from service – widely reported in the media, including by APDR – had originated and been amplified by people in Defence and industry who were trying to damage the company. He pointed out – correctly –that  the negative comments have never been sourced or supported by any evidence.

However, it sounds as if there has been a breakdown in communication between Elbit and Defence with McLachlan only learning about the details of Army’s unhappiness with aspects of the system via the same process of Senate Estimates hearings referred to above. Since Defence is the Prime System Integrator for LAND 200, it is unclear why the situation has reached a point where Elbit appear to have been kept in the dark on such an important activity. Despite the wave of negative publicity, the company is still under contract to continue the roll out of the BMS and talks are underway with the customer to sort out the best way forward.

Defence has consistently refused to answer questions from the media about this matter.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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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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