Posts Tagged Australia

Australians complain about their training on drones

An article in the Ottawa Citizen, repeating information from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, showed that some members of the  Australian military are highly critical of the training received on Heron drones, rented through Macdonald Dettwiler, a Canadian company.

Australian Wing Commander Jonathan McMullan complained about ‘low experience civilians’ training highly experienced pilots.

The article did not make explicityly clear who provided the trainers. Macdonald Dettwiler, a Canadian company, provided the Heron drones to the Canadian and Australian military for use in Afghanistan, as an agent for Israeli Aerospace Industries, the manufacturer.

This article states that Macdonald Dettwiler Associates has a training contract with the Australian military, so perhaps we can guess that it is MDA that the Australian officer is complaining about.

The current contract between MDA and the Australian military to provide drones and training appears to end in December 2012. Three Heron drones rented from MDA had flown a total of 4600 flight hours by May, 2011. This extensive. A June 8, 2012 article from ABC online provides a wealth of details about Australia’s use of drones.

While Israel is not directly involved in the Afghanistan occupation, Israeli arms companies have provided weapons and trainers, including a range of drones to a variety of countries.

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Elbit Systems Expands Australian Sales

Elbit Systems, which has a fully owned subsidiary, Elbit Australia, has made made major inroads into the Australian military market.

Elbit Systems has been selling Australia Skylark drones since 2005, and in 2008 sold ‘several million dollars’ worth.

In 2010, Elbit Systems got a $298 million contract to the apply its DAP (Digital Army Programme) related command and control technology to the Australian armed Forces.  According to Australia Defense Magazine, the Elbit bid had the advantage that  had been proven in service with the Israeli Defence Force. According to Elbit CEO Joseph Ackerman, the Australian contract will likely lead to the system being acquired by other countries. Ackerman also claimed that the systems are in use by more than 20 other armies around the world, without naming them.

Britain’s BAE Systems has been awarded a $4.9 AUD million subcontract from Elbit Systems to upgrade 777 Australian military vehicles and prepare them to receive the new communications technology.

(Thus, it appears the Australian government has made this contract because Elbit’s technology has had action with the Israeli military. Surely a motivator for the Israeli arms industry to continue to promote armed conflict with neighbours and the Palestinians. The Israeli military, government, and arms industry are closely interlinked. Many cabinet ministers become arms company officials, many arms company officials are former army officers and are still in the reserves).

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Elbit Systems Has Digital Army Contract with the Israeli Military

Israel has created a high tech, digitised ‘command and control’ network to defend its borders and maintain its control over the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Elbit Systems is the prime contractor for Israel’s ‘DAP’ system (Tzayad Digital Army Programme). DAP is a 10 year,$500 million programme funded by Israeli taxes and American subsidies. First launched in 2004 DAP has been deployed in the West Bank, Gaza, and along the Lebanon border.

Elbit calls DAP its ‘master programme for computerising all land force operations’.

It appears that the primary Elbit divisions working on DAP are Elbit Systems Land, and C4I Tadiran.

DAP links all levels and locations of the Israeli army into a single, secure system. (C4I)

DAP is being designed to deal with High Intensity Conflict (war) and Low Intensity Conflict (border defense, fighting insurgents, and ‘occupation duties’ in the occupied territories-ed).

It appears that one of the functions of DAP is to link soldiers and commanders in with the system of sensors arrayed on the ‘separation barrier’ (apartheid wall)  and along the border, using the ‘TORC2H’ system.

In 2010, Elbit Systems got a $298 million contract to the apply its DAP related technology to the Australian armed Forces.  According to Australia Defense Magazine, the Elbit bid had the advantage that  had been proven in service with the Israeli Defence Force.

(Thus, it appears the Australian government has made this contract because Elbit’s technology has had action with the Israeli military. Surely a motivator for the Israeli arms industry to continue to promote armed conflict with neighbours and the Palestinians. The Israeli military, government, and arms industry are closely interlinked. Many cabinet ministers become arms company officials, many arms company officials are former army officers and are still in the reserves).

 

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Australia Declined to Buy Global Hawk in 2009

In March, 2009, Australia declined to purchase the long range Global Hawk drone from Northrop Grumman.

The drone might have been used for maritime patrol, or for monitoring bush fires.

At the time the cancellation was seen by some as a cheap cost cutting measure, though the Defence Minister defended the decision as over stretching the capacity of the armed forces.

In light of the Canadian cancellation of its military drone capability, perhaps the Australian action makes more sense. Having a drone programme creates the need for deployments that might not otherwise be undertaken. And when absolutely required, drone capability can be reacquired on short notice.

Many projects where drones would be useful can be carried out by smaller, cheaper drones.

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Australia In New Venture with Thales, Marshall

Thales Australia and Marshall Land Systems are starting a joint venture to pursue contracts for military vehicles.

Australia is planning to spend $2.65 billion to replace it’s four wheel drive vehicles, trailers and ‘modules’.

Marshall Land Systems have been working with Thales in the UK providing ‘Command and Ground Station Shelter Systems’ the Watchkeeper drone system. They’ve also been providing ground station facilities for BAE’s Herti drones, and MBDA’s Fireshadow.

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Australia Arming Israel, While Israel Arms Australia

15 March, 2010, it was announced that Australia would be purchasing $298USD millions of arms technology from Israeli company Elbit Systems. These purchases were for BMS, or Battle Management Systems, complex electronics that permit integration of modern warfare technology.

Elbit claims that it provides similar technology to 20 countries world wide.

Not only is Elbit arming many countries, profits from these exports provide funds for research and development of new weapons, and grease the wheels under Israel’s military industrial complex.

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Elbit Systems Sells Military Communications Technology to Australia

On 15/2/10 it was announce that Elbit Systems has won a contract to provide a $USD300 million ‘command and control’ communications systems to the Australian DOD. Described as a contract for: “the supply, integration, installation and support of a Battle Group and Below Command, Control and Communications (BGC3) system for the Australian Army’s Land 75/125 program” . More info here.

This is a key product for Elbit which will try to sell more of its technology to other countries.

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Canada and Australia support Israeli drone program

Recently Australia has received a Heron drone and training in operating Heron drones from Canada. This is a bit perplexing, since one wonders why Australia doesn’t get its drones straight from Israel.

The drones are presumably acquired through the partnership between Israel Aerospace Industries and MacDonald Dettwiler of Canada, which has an operation at Suffield Alberta, where it tests UAVs and trains operators for the drones that Canada has acquired from Israel.

Australia appears to have plans to acquire more drones, and the fact that they are already using a Heron drone suggests that future drones may also be acquired from Israel, providing support for the Israeli arms industry.

Australian drone operators are being absorbed into the Canadian Heron UAV detachment at Kandahar Afghanistan.

More information here.

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