Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that a new Counter Rocket Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) Sense and Warn system has been delivered and is currently in operation at the multinational base Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith said the new system provides early detection of attacks from enemy rockets, artillery and mortars and replaces the previous capability provided by the Singaporean Armed Forces. Delivery of the C-RAM follows on from Australia assuming responsibility for early detection against rocket, artillery and mortar attacks at the base from 28 December 2010.
“The early warning provided by the C-RAM system greatly enhances the survivability of Australian and other ISAF forces from these attacks, providing increased warning of an imminent attack to enable them to take appropriate shelter”.
“The provision of the new capability is part of the package of initiatives worth $1.6 billion we committed to following the Force Protection Review and underlines the commitment to provide our troops with the best available equipment.”
“Of the 48 recommendations made by the Review, 40 are now complete or on track. They include enhanced counter IED measures, better armour and heavier calibre weapons for our Bushmasters, the placement of medics with each platoon operating in Afghanistan and the introduction of 1000 sets of lighter combat armour,” Mr Smith said.
The Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare said the new C-RAM Sense and Warn capability consists of a leased Giraffe radar, a number of lightweight counter mortar radars and Command and Control and warning equipment. Additional C-RAM systems will be progressively deployed to Afghanistan including a number of lightweight counter mortar radars.
“This early warning system is based on proven systems used by other ISAF forces including the US and the UK. Already the system has worked very effectively, allowing our people to take shelter.
“The new system has achieved initial operational capability at Tarin Kowt five months ahead of schedule. It has already provided early warning against missile attack.
“The leased radar will be replaced by one being acquired under an $86 million contract signed recently by the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) with SAAB AB. That contract provides for three Giraffe radars which, when delivered in 2012, will provide three Australian owned systems including a full logistic support package.
“The new C-RAM capability follows the delivery of another Force Protection initiative with the first batch of the new, lighter Tiered Body Armour System now rolling off the production line in Bendigo. The ADF plans to have the next Mentoring Task Force equipped with this armour when it deploys to Afghanistan later this year.
‘The new Multicam combat uniform will also be available to troops operating outside the wire in the first half of this year,” Mr Clare said.