Future of Army's multi-billion-dollar Battle Management System uncertain amid tensions with Israeli military company

Cabatli_53

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Tensions between Australia's military and a controversial Israeli weapons manufacturer are threatening to topple a multi-billion-dollar IT system that allows Army commanders to control units in the field.

Key points:​

  • The Israeli technology allows Army commanders to better coordinate various land assets during complex battlefield scenarios
  • The Army has not commented, but sources say it is considering scrapping the technology contract
  • There have been concerns over the system, as well as storing of information and data
Defence is refusing to comment on the saga but several sources with knowledge of the dispute say the Army is now moving to scrap its Battle Management System (BMS) produced by Elbit Systems Australia.

The digital Israeli technology allows Army commanders to better coordinate various land assets during complex battlefield scenarios, where previously they had to rely on "analogue" methods such as maps and radios.

The United States military has for years taken special precautions while operating alongside Australian vehicles that are equipped with the Elbit BMS, because of security concerns about the Israeli technology.

Military figures have said simmering tensions between the Defence Department and Elbit Systems Australia have come to a head in recent weeks, with the Army now moving to stop using its existing deployed BMS.

One Army source, who spoke to the ABC on the condition of anonymity, described the standoff as a "complete shambles".

"People are getting the shits with Elbit exploiting their monopoly to impose huge premiums," the officer said.

"And there are definite concerns that the Israelis are backdooring the system for information".

The ABC understands Elbit employs 190 staff in Australia, but Defence is now looking to use an American company which is yet to properly establish itself in Australia.

A week ago, the ABC sent detailed questions about the contractual dispute to the Defence Department, but it is yet to respond.

The ABC has also contacted the federal government for comment, but a response has not been received.

A spokesperson for Elbit Systems Australia told the ABC "we will not be commenting at this stage".

 

Cabatli_53

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Elbit BMS shut down

ADM understands that Elbit Systems Australia has been given notice earlier this month to cease use of the existing deployed BMS version with Army, effective from mid next month. The news was given to the company with no explanation as to the reasoning behind the decision, with Defence confirming that they have no interim solution to replace the capability.

The program also signed a multimillion dollar follow-on sustainment contract earlier this month which would see elements of the capability upgraded and expanded.
At this point, Defence has spent billions on the program over the past decade, with the last contract extension in 2017 signed for $1.4 billion alone.

ADM understands that Elbit Systems Australia program employs approximately 190 highly skilled local people across the nation to support this program for Army. There is also a significant local SME workforce that supports the program.

Neither Defence or Elbit Systems Australia would comment about the program or its consequences as this article went to press.

 

Khagan1923

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This is a serious matter and will have a big consequences.

Elbit's reputation will go down the gutters. This can lead to the company having to declare bankruptcy in the coming years.

I don't see how they survive this and still get costumers.

Maybe it will be dissolved and engineers will be moved to other Israeli companies by the Government.

Then again this can also lead to backlash for other Israeli companies. If one of them does it whose not to say the others don't either?
 

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Tensions between Australia's military and a controversial Israeli weapons manufacturer are threatening to topple a multi-billion-dollar IT system that allows Army commanders to control units in the field.

Key points:​

  • The Israeli technology allows Army commanders to better coordinate various land assets during complex battlefield scenarios
  • The Army has not commented, but sources say it is considering scrapping the technology contract
  • There have been concerns over the system, as well as storing of information and data
Defence is refusing to comment on the saga but several sources with knowledge of the dispute say the Army is now moving to scrap its Battle Management System (BMS) produced by Elbit Systems Australia.

The digital Israeli technology allows Army commanders to better coordinate various land assets during complex battlefield scenarios, where previously they had to rely on "analogue" methods such as maps and radios.

The United States military has for years taken special precautions while operating alongside Australian vehicles that are equipped with the Elbit BMS, because of security concerns about the Israeli technology.

Military figures have said simmering tensions between the Defence Department and Elbit Systems Australia have come to a head in recent weeks, with the Army now moving to stop using its existing deployed BMS.

One Army source, who spoke to the ABC on the condition of anonymity, described the standoff as a "complete shambles".

"People are getting the shits with Elbit exploiting their monopoly to impose huge premiums," the officer said.

"And there are definite concerns that the Israelis are backdooring the system for information".

The ABC understands Elbit employs 190 staff in Australia, but Defence is now looking to use an American company which is yet to properly establish itself in Australia.

A week ago, the ABC sent detailed questions about the contractual dispute to the Defence Department, but it is yet to respond.

The ABC has also contacted the federal government for comment, but a response has not been received.

A spokesperson for Elbit Systems Australia told the ABC "we will not be commenting at this stage".

@500 ,whats this all about?
 

Bogeyman 

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Elbit BMS shut down​


ADM understands that Elbit Systems Australia has been given notice earlier this month to cease use of the existing deployed BMS version with Army, effective from mid next month. The news was given to the company with no explanation as to the reasoning behind the decision, with Defence confirming that they have no interim solution to replace the capability.​

The program also signed a multimillion dollar follow-on sustainment contract earlier this month which would see elements of the capability upgraded and expanded.

At this point, Defence has spent billions on the program over the past decade, with the last contract extension in 2017 signed for $1.4 billion alone.

ADM understands that Elbit Systems Australia program employs approximately 190 highly skilled local people across the nation to support this program for Army. There is also a significant local SME workforce that supports the program.

Neither Defence or Elbit Systems Australia would comment about the program or its consequences as this article went to press.

Background

The BMS forms the digital backbone of Army operations. Delivered under Land 200 nomenclature, it is the combination of the following projects/phases:

  • Land 75 Phase 3.2 & Phase 3.3. Battlefield Command Support System (BCSS)
  • Land 75 Phase 3.4. Battle Management System – Mounted (BMS-M)
  • Land 125 Phase 3. Battle Management System – Dismounted (BMS-D)
The BMS is the central component of the Battle Group and Below Command, Control and Communications System (BGC3) that is being jointly delivered by the Land 75 Phase 3.4, Land 125 Phase 3A, and JP 2072 Phase 1 projects. It incorporates a mobile, data capable communications system, and be able to exchange combat information with BCSS and other Land BMS.

Defence applied to Government to delay First Pass approval for Land 200 Phase 3 Battlefield Command System by 12 months to at least February 2022 due to overall movement in committee approval processes and COVID-19 in October last year.

The program came under examination from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) with less than stellar results in 2019, noting issues with how the various related programs interacted.

“The 2015 sole-source procurement process for the Army’s BMS was ultimately effective, but the procurement was delayed pending resolution of affordability issues affecting Land 200 Tranche 2 as a whole. Defence addressed affordability issues by adopting a ‘design to price’ strategy, significantly reducing project scope and assuming additional risk and cost by taking on the role of Prime Systems Integrator. Defence has assessed that it can achieve value-for-money outcomes following these adjustments,” the report said.

ADM Comment: The more research into this decision undertaken, the stranger it gets. No notice. No reason given. No viable replacement. Relatively large extension contract signed less than a fortnight before. No senior Defence figure was in the loop or would admit to being in the loop. Both ministers have been thrown in the deep end with furious questions being asked all round.
For a government that has been open in its drive to support intellectual property (IP) transfer from global primes and the practical application of Australian Industry Capability (AIC), the decision is simply baffling.

While the program has seen issues over the years (show me a perfect program?) the suddenness of the decision is truly startling.
 

500

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@500 ,whats this all about?
I think Americans are simply using their political influence to get rid of the competitor. What kind of super secret information can leak the Australian BMS for gods sake?
 

T-123456

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I think Americans are simply using their political influence to get rid of the competitor. What kind of super secret information can leak the Australian BMS for gods sake?
That is the right question.
 
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