Ventia to support Defence High Frequency Communication System

Wednesday, 15 February, 2023

Ventia to support Defence High Frequency Communication System

Infrastructure service provider Ventia has been awarded a contract to support Babcock Australasia in its work on the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) Defence High Frequency Communication System (DHFCS) — a key pillar of Australia’s strategic military communications network which is set for a major capability upgrade under a 10-year program.

In October 2022, Babcock signed a contract to equip the ADF with an enhanced high-frequency communications system. Commencing in October 2023 under the JP9101 – Enhanced Defence High Frequency Communications System (EDHFCS) program, the new system would provide Australian and allied armed forces with the ability to securely communicate using voice and data from almost any location across the globe.

Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said at the time that the government would invest $1.96 billion to upgrade communications equipment and facilities across Australia, build a new communication site near Darwin and establish a software development centre in Adelaide. “This will complement Defence’s investment in secure and resilient satellite communications to support our soldiers, sailors and aviators on operations at home and abroad,” Conroy said.

Babcock will lead the operation and support of the existing HF capability, while delivering a comprehensive technology upgrade program over the initial 10-year contract period. At the heart of the solution is Babcock’s Intelligent Network and Serial Protocol Interface for Radio Equipment (INSPIRE), which provides a step-change in ease of upgrade and reconfiguration that should ensure Australia’s EDHFCS will remain current and ready to support the ADF whenever and wherever it is needed.

“In a modern threat environment, access to local communication infrastructure or satellite communication cannot be assured,” said David Ruff, Babcock’s Chief Executive Officer Australasia. “Having a communications capability that can work seamlessly with the ADF and its allies is an essential requirement for military operations.”

Babcock’s principal partner for the program, Lockheed Martin Australia, will support Babcock in the delivery of mission system elements that will grow a sovereign industrial capability solution to provide life support over the duration of the program and beyond. Ventia’s scope meanwhile includes ground works, installation of new antennas and other contractor furnished equipment, and internal shelter works.

“Ventia’s strategy is to redefine service excellence by being client-focused, innovative and sustainable,” said Mark Ralston, Ventia’s Group Executive – Telecommunications. “Our expert capabilities and proven telecommunications experience supports Babcock’s strategy and vision in providing secure, robust communications that are resilient and interoperable.”

Babcock’s Managing Director Mission and Support Systems, Brad Yelland, said he was impressed by Ventia’s capabilities and track record across large-scale telecommunications and Defence projects.

“It was important that we selected a local partner that had the technical know-how and proven experience in delivery,” Yelland said. “We look forward to partnering with Ventia on this program of national significance.”

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