Australia to remain a maritime-defence leader with $1.2 billion upgrade

JORN. Photo: BAE Systems Australia

The Australian government is planning a $1.2 billion upgrade of the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) that is set to keep the long-running reputation of Australia as a maritime defence leader intact.

The JORN is a radar that gauges activity off the northern and north-eastern coastline of Australia. The investment by the Federal Government is said to improve both the hardware and software of the system.

The upgrade is designed to ensure that the scan rate is improved which will, in turn, boost radar coverage as well as increasing the detection capabilities of JORN which Defence Minister Marisa Payne says is vital to keeping the system at a world-class standard.

Ms Payne said that “what it will be capable of is game changing” outlining that the upgrades will allow Australian military to execute a greater number of surveillance efforts at the same time and also see smaller targets. Additionally, it is also said to be able to detect threats more quickly and accurately than before.

The upgrade is also meant to be good for the economy with the Phase 6 upgrade to support an additional 100 jobs at BAE Systems Australia, the company responsible for the upgrade, and also support 100 jobs in the supply chain.

There are currently approximately 500 people working at the company across the three stations situated in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

The JORN system shoots out electromagnetic waves of a high frequency such that they bounce off the ionosphere and are able to detect objects that are thousands of kilometres offshore. The radar is also invisible to more conventional radars due to the curvature of the earth.

The Defence Minister says that the upgrade will ensure that JORN remains an industry leader beyond 2040.

The upgrades will be designed and developed by Australians according to Christopher Pyne, Minister for Defence Industry.

Nigel Scullion, the Northern Territory Country Liberals Senator, has said that the “first priority” is to ensure that our defence forces have the required capabilities to defend our country.

He continued on this point by saying that as a result, “we are determined to invest as much as possible” into the ongoing work that is achieved by those in Australia industries so that they may continue as normal.

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