Mobile Tactical Network boost for the Army

  • Hon Ron Mark

A new tactical communications network will be delivered to the New Zealand Army following the signing of a contract with Harris Defence Australia.

“Communication networks are vital to Defence Force operations and must be modern, effective and designed to meet the needs of military personnel,’ says Minister of Defence Ron Mark.

“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 $40 million contract for the mobile tactical command system, funded from an existing appropriation, 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, both within New Zealand’s forces and when operating at an international level.

“Whether at home or overseas, the Defence Force operates alongside other Government agencies and New Zealand’s international partners, and the ability to work together effectively is vital to the success of these operations.

“Interoperability with partners is strategically important, and 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 Harris Defence Australia, including new portable radios for soldiers.

“Managing and using information effectively is fundamental to the success of Defence Force operations,” says Ron Mark.

Background facts:

  • The Network Enabled Army programme is being rolled out in four tranches, through to 2025/26.
  • Tranche One of the Network Enabled Army programme will be delivered over time to the end of 2021.
  • Tranche One is focused on Army and Special Forces’ capabilities in relation to Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4).
  • Tranche Two will focus 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, to identify the most appropriate to meet Army’s operational requirements, and a contract was signed with Harris Defence Australia on 21 December 2018.