New Zealand Army to get better tactical communications system for interoperability

The New Zealand Army will be gaining a new tactical communications network following the signing of a NZ$ 40 million contract with a company that specialises in tactical communications technology, OpenGovAsia reports.

New Zealand Army to get better tactical communications system for interoperability
The New Zealand Army will get a better tactical communications system to improve interoperability (Picture source: Twitter account, New Zealand Army)

According to a recent press release, the contract has been signed as part of the first tranche of work being delivered under the Network Enabled Army programme, one of several projects underway addressing equipment obsolescence. Networks and equipment used by the New Zealand Army and Special Forces are the focus of this contract.

The NZ$ 40 million contract for the mobile tactical command system is funded from an existing appropriation. Moreover, the contract will design and deliver a modern network along with software, systems and connecting radio equipment. Together, these will enable accurate and detailed information to be transmitted securely between military personnel and command centres, whether they are within New Zealand’s forces or when operating at an international level.

The Defence Force operates alongside other Government agencies and New Zealand’s international partners whether at home or overseas. Therefore, the ability to work together effectively is vital to the success of these operations. Interoperability with partners is strategically important.

As technology continues to advance, Defence must be ready to keep pace in both procurement processes and capability requirements. The new network will use a family of radios supplied by the tactical communication technology company. This will include new portable radios for soldiers.

The report outlined relevant background information on the project. The Network Enabled Army programme is being rolled out in four tranches, up until 2025/2026. Tranche One of the Network Enabled Army programme will be delivered over time to the end of 2021. It will be focused on the capabilities of the Army and Special Forces in relation to Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (C4).

Meanwhile, Tranche Two will be focusing on Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability. As part of the initial C4 tranche, the Ministry of Defence issued a closed request for proposals for the Mobile Tactical Command System in September 2017. This will deliver digital combat radios and supporting hardware and software to provide line of sight, and beyond line of sight communications.

An extensive evaluation process took place to test the range of solutions proposed by suppliers as well as to identify the most appropriate to meet Army’s operational requirements.