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Project Phoenix – Project Wagtail Legacy: Defence High Frequency Communications System

Boeing and BAE Systems team for JP 9101

Boeing Defence Australia and BAE Systems Australia announced last week that they have submitted a tender response for the Commonwealth’s Enhanced Defence High Frequency Communications System (EDHFCS), to be delivered under Joint Project 9101, or Project Phoenix.

Project Phoenix will upgrade the ADF’s existing Defence High Frequency Communications System (DHFCS) capability by the end of the decade. BDA designed and developed the DHFCS and has been the incumbent since it entered service in 2004. BAE Systems Australia is the incumbent on Defence’s Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN), which also uses the HF spectrum.

BDA is the prime for the tender but, according to the director of its Joint Services Division, Murray Brabrook, the relationship with BAE Systems Australia is in effect a partnership between the two companies.

Our partnership is more than that of just prime and subcontractor

BAE Systems Australia, with its HF experience, is a major subcontractor on our solution for EDHFCS, but our partnership is more than that of just prime and subcontractor,” he said. “The HF technology partnership we’ve formed will bring additional capabilities to Defence as we share technology, investment and lessons from both DHFCS and JORN.”

Brabrook said the joint solution for the JP 9101 requirement will leverage BDA’s agile development methodology, which has proven successful thus far on its work on Project Currawong (JP2072 Phase 2B) and will include 90 per cent Australian content, including the combined scope of BDA and BAE Systems Australia, but also 28 Australian SMEs.

BAE Systems Australia’s chief of Future Business, Chris Keane said that the two companies have discovered many similarities in how they have approached the development of technology and systems upgrades as they develop the framework for how they will collaborate on JP 9101.

“As an existing provider of enhanced HF capabilities for the Commonwealth, we believe that working together will offer a proven ability to identify, prioritise and implement evolutionary enhancements to critical national capability with no loss of service, minimising transition risk,” Keane said.

“As a technology partner, we’ll be jointly bringing the best of Australia’s defence industry, to ensure the EDHFCS solution remains a sovereign and self-sufficient ADF capability, but also creates enduring opportunities for Australian businesses to contribute and grow their capability.”

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