Site work is underway to redesign and upgrade the first of three radars critical to protecting Australia’s northern coastline and airspace. The work at the Stonehenge radar near Longreach, in Queensland began in November. This initial trenching work will continue until around Christmas, with cables expected to be laid in the new year.
The Jindalee Operational Radar Network, or JORN, protects Australia’s northern approaches through a network of three remote radars located at Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Longreach in Queensland and Laverton in Western Australia. The state-of-the-art defence system provides wide area surveillance at ranges of 1000 to 3000km and plays a vital role in supporting the Australian Defence Force’s air and maritime operations, border surveillance, disaster relief and search and rescue operations. JORN can detect aircraft and ships well beyond the range of normal radars by refracting high frequency radio waves off the ionosphere to see over the horizon.
Through the JORN Phase 6 redesign upgrade, BAE Systems Australia is working with Defence and other Australian companies to introduce world-class sovereign technologies and architecture that will improve performance and extend JORN’s operational life to beyond 2042.
Andrew Gresham, Managing Director Defence Delivery at BAE Systems Australia, congratulated the entire JORN program team, including those working on site and the project team at Edinburgh Parks in Adelaide, for reaching the milestone. “Starting site works is a significant achievement, a first step to achieving a key milestone in the project and a demonstration of the teams’ dedication to a critical national security asset. Our collaborative approach with Defence and Australian industry has delivered a world-leading, unique capability. The strategic importance of JORN has never been greater. It is a key part of Australia’s national security network and critical for our current, and future, sovereign security.”
Trish Denison, Remote Site Operations Project Manager, JORN Sustainment, acknowledged the hard work of the teams. “I am very proud to be able to support both the group of workers who are maintaining such an important asset and those who are delivering the next generation upgrade. It really is exciting to see physical work beginning on-site, in line with the schedule we had been aiming for. What we do is exciting and such a crucial part of Australia’s national security.”