Defence jump starts Network Centric Warfare

In what could be a boost for the local IT industry, the Department of Defence will start prototyping of new Network Centric Warfare (NCW) technologies to bring Australia's combat capabilities up to speed with friends and foe.

Known as the Rapid Prototyping Development and Evaluation (RPDE) Program, the scheme will see "participation from across industry using collaborative task teams in the investigation and evaluation of options for near-term NCW capability enhancement. RPDE aims to allow Defence to make decisions that rapidly improve the ADF's networked warfighting capability," according to tender documents issued by Defence.

The government is currently canvassing responses from interested local defence technology players with a view to getting new systems proven and running as soon as possible and will hold a series of industry briefings over the coming months.

Australia's military technology developers have enjoyed significant export success over the last two years. Local companies awarded international contracts include converged video imagery software firm Mediaware, which has seen its systems tested for the US Airforce's Global Hawk unmanned spyplanes, while network security specialist Tenix Datagate is understood to be close to securing several deals along with the top EAL 7 security certification from the US's National Security Agency.

The new project forms part of Australia's current $50 billion Defence Capability Plan which aims to have all armed forces transferred to a network-centric footing by 2014.

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