The Commonwealth of Australia’s strategy for C4ISR and Battlefield Management System modernization through an overlapping, tiered approach represents a concerted effort to ensure layered networks are integrated as they are deployed.
It also ignites an extraordinary revolution in terms of the situational awareness, tactical network resiliency and the kinetic and non-kinetic effects ground personnel can expect to see on the battlefield, according to Sandy Taylor, L3Harris Communications Australia director of Business Development and Sales.
“These new architectures are delivering communication capability that is shifting data at increasing speeds across the battlefield,” he said. “This enables a massive change in how the warfighter conducts operations.”
Legacy L3Harris Technologies businesses have been supporting the Australian Defence Force for more than 25 years. Legacy Harris Corporation has long held a strong reputation in the naval tactical radio and electronic warfare realms; legacy L3 Technologies has local history in submarine maritime integration and bespoke solutions for security and detection, according to Taylor. Further, more than 50 percent of the 500-plus in-country employees across 11 locations are ex-military.
“The merger of L3 Technologies and Harris Corporation means we are positioned to support the customer, with a combination of mature local presence and global reach back,” Taylor said. “We have been a leading supplier of military solutions and services to the Commonwealth across a number of domains, but now we are one integrated organisation ready to deliver end-to-end integrated C4ISR capabilities in support of national sovereignty priorities.”
L3Harris currently maintains the bulk of the Australian Army’s tactical radio fleet, from Level 1 to Level 4 maintenance and sustainment.
“We aspire to be the soldier systems and strategic communications company partner of choice for the Australian Defence Force,” Taylor said. “From an operator perspective, there’s a level of trust in the products that we offer – the radios work, the first time, every time, and it is this that helps keeps people alive.”
Solutions for Interoperability
The layering of communication network programs provides significant opportunities for future technology insertions, according to Taylor. The strength of L3Harris’ enterprise in Australia and abroad – from manufacturing assembly capabilities, local subject matter and supply chain expertise to software development – coupled with the company’s in-depth understanding of the defence forces’ needs speeds development and deployment of bespoke solutions to meet those requirements.
“There’s a real opportunity for us to leverage the investments so far in local technical development capabilities and engaging the very high-end, local subject matter experts standing ready to do development with us,” Taylor said.
Understanding the Environment
A core capability of L3Harris Communications Australia is “the field service and customer engagement part of what we do,” Taylor said.
The Field Services team comprises 32 personnel, all of whom are military veterans with extensive experience in defence communication products, systems and planning, according to Scott Stephenson, Field Services director.
“Our team gained operational experience in their respective forces and used the L3Harris products in live situations, which provides grounding and faith in what is being delivered to the customer,” Stephenson said.
The Field Services team’s expertise in the field and their passion in supporting the end user is vital for ground personnel to achieve mission success and survive in hostile environments.
Australia is presented with a number of challenges as the Commonwealth works to keep pace with the significant level of defense modernization currently conducted by peer nations.
“The Australian Army punches above their weight – I’d like to think it’s one of the best small armies in the world,” Maj. Gen. Fergus McLachlan (ret.), L3Harris Australia director, said. “What we’re seeing now is a democratisation of lethality and technology. This idea of nation states operating in the gray zone make the role of the military leader on the ground incredibly difficult.”
L3Harris is uniquely positioned to gain the best advantages from U.S. tactical communications technology development for Australia’s own interoperability capabilities.
“We have the ability as this large prime in Australia to take the best of the American/Australian capabilities and support the desire for sovereignty in Australia,” Taylor said. “We are well-positioned as L3Harris to take the best of breed and leverage a strong economy in Australia to help Australia’s capability growth.”