Australia — Measures to protect troops in Afghanistan

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 mul­ti nation­al 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.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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