The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will announce the prime system integrator (PSI) to design, build and integrate ICT systems at its new headquarters currently under construction near Bungedore in the state of New South Wales by the end of the month.

Five companies are shortlisted for the A$65 million (US$50 million) contract to design and build 45 command, control, communications, computer and information (C41) systems in the new A$300 million Defence Headquarters Joint Operations Command (HQJOC) facility.

The companies include the Kaz Group, BAE Systems and ADI.

Prime Minister John Howard this week used a ceremonial spade to “turn the first sod” at the 220-hectare site, which will improve the department’s IT computing capability.

The facility will be fully operational in November, 2008.

“The new headquarters will bring together for the first time all the key elements necessary for the planning and command and control of Australian Defence Force operations and other designated activities – at a time of unprecedented military operational activity,” Howard said.

A defense spokesperson said the new IT capability will have a high level of availability, reliability and survivability, with redundant communications paths and multiple data centres.

“This capability will assist in the provisioning of evolving technologies such as collaborative planning tools and situational awareness displays; the new IT capability will be highly flexible to support defense force operations,” the spokesperson said.

“The new integrated structure for the HQJOC will improve Defence command and control. It will merge the strategic and operational levels of ADF planning, and enable better integration with other government departments and agencies when required.”

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