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Currawong’ achieves IOC

Signallers from 7th Combat Signal Regiment work with Integrated Battlefield Telecommunications Network equipment on Exercise Carbon Diamond. (Defence)

The Australian Defence Force’s Integrated Battle Telecommunications Network (I-BTN) capability has achieved the Initial operational Capability (IOC) milestone for the Initial Material Release of equipment.

The I-BTN is being delivered by Boeing Defence Australia under CASG’s Joint Project 2072 Phase 2B, or Project Currawong. It is a scalable, distributed digital telecommunications system, to replace Army’s 30 year-old Parakeet capability in two stages.

The Initial Material Release capability was recently tested under operational conditions during Exercise Hamel in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and received excellent feedback from deployed units.

Currawong is delivering a single converged IP network between strategic and deployed headquarters, right down to units mounted in Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles to provide a ‘Commander on the Move’ capability for the ADF for the very first time.

The $665 million contract with Boeing covers five years of acquisition and a three-year sustainment deal.

The delivery phase is split between an Initial Material Release (IMR) and Release 2, which is due to be rolled out to operational units in 2019-2020. Together, they will provide a deployed force with the networks and domains required to communicate effectively all the way up to strategic headquarters, and vice versa.

In essence the IMR equipment is a ‘vertical slice’ of the capability, although there is more to come in Release 2 in 2020, at which point in time the acquisition phase of Currawong will switch to sustainment activities.

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