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Tech firms on high alert as NZ Cabinet prepares for multi-million dollar Defence decision

Tech firms on high alert as NZ Cabinet prepares for multi-million dollar Defence decision

The New Zealand cabinet will make a decision this year on a major communications capability refresh to meet Defence requirements for the next 15 years, expected to cost several hundred millions of dollars.

According to Computerworld sources, Defence will consider the relative cost-benefits of many possible solutions which are likely to range from a reduced, rationalised footprint of HF services providing services similar to that already deployed, through to latest generation HF services, providing wide-band packet data over HF radio - different ownership models will also be considered.

These may include Defence owning, operating, and maintaining the equipment through to a Public Private Partnership where Defence uses the service/bandwidth but does not own, operate or maintain the equipment.

The RFI seeks responses from companies that have the requisite skills, knowledge and experience to provide either portions of or a complete HF capability solution, including but not necessarily limited to:

a) System Design

b) Provision and installation of equipment

c) Design and build of the control system

d) Installation and introduction into service

e) Provision of ongoing support to maintain the HF capability at a contemporary standard through-life

f) Logistics support

g) Removal and disposal of the existing HF communication assets

The Network Enabled Army (NEA) programme is planned to modernise the NZDF tactical command and control systems in the land environment, together with supporting computers, communications and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance networks which support deployed land forces.

Until Cabinet approval to initiate, NEA remains in the “pre-acquisition” phase. Lead-in activities for transition to the acquisition phase are in place. NZDF and Ministry of Defence analysts are continuing research of the market place and of systems in use or under development in other defence organisations.

Submissions to achieve Cabinet approval for both projects are scheduled for the first half of 2015 - the current procurement concept is based on four tranches spread over the period 2015 to 2026 and will be implemented in accordance with New Zealand Government Rules of Sourcing.

Each tranche will inform the one that follows it. This concept is now the basis of the Ministry of Defence Acquisition Strategy.

Read more: Bill English: Data analytics gets top seat at government table

The structure of Tranche 1 is still under development. The methods of MOD acquisition of programme support, such as provision and operation of a Test and Reference Centre and professional services, are still to be determined.

Three projects within Tranche 1 are emerging as likely to proceed rapidly into acquisition. These are still under development, subject to Cabinet approval.

Projects

Command Post Environment provides IT systems and software in a task group HQ, a dismounted rifle company, and a Special Forces element.

Furthermore, Universal Bearer Network provides common access nodes for communications at a task group HQ, a dismounted rifle company, and a Special Forces element.

Also, Mobile Tactical Radio System provides combat net radios, and battle management system and software for a task group HQ, a dismounted rifle company, and a Special Forces element.

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