$1bn refresh for the crown jewels that are Discovery

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The JORN range at Alice Springs

Australia’s crown jewels, the Jindalee radar program, is undergoing a $1 billion refresh to convert its dated systems to digital.

This is a major project as the underlying technology and software is Australian.

Digitisation will make the system a lot more flexible and useful, with operators able to differentiate targets.

“This is a intricate program and it’s a technology,” stated Steve Wynd.

Australia’s over-the-horizon radar program, known as the Jindalee functional radar system (JORN), originated from research conducted after World War 2, together with the go-ahead for structure given in the 1990s.

JORN was only attained after substantial technical issues which led to delay and cost overruns.

It operates by bouncing radio signals off the coating of the atmosphere called the ionosphere. That usually means the radar can detect objects far out to the Indian Ocean and up to the Indonesian archipelago.

JORN’s antenna arrays are located in Laverton, Western Australia, Longreach, Queensland and Alice Springs. The control center is at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.

Officially it can detect targets around a Hawk fighter or patrol boat’s size but its real capabilities remain classified. As a radar operating in the HF group, JORN is allegedly able to detect stealth aircraft.

BAE Systems Australia defeated Lockheed Martin Australia to win the contract to upgrade JORN, replacing 1990s receiver components, software and architecture with a digital system with open design.

JORN a more versatile and flexible system, allowing rate of policy will be made by that.

But it’s still a complicated and highly developmental process, involving 1.5 million lines of software throughout the system, 12 new hardware boxes being designed from scratch and 1,500 servers at the JORN computer system.

“there is a strong risk management software around it, & rdquo; he explained and That introduces sophistication and sophistication poses danger.

In Australia would you do things in this way, & ldquo; It & rsquo; s not. Concerning the diversity and the technology it is a program that is very intricate. ”

On the other hand, the Defence Science and Technology Group has already written key algorithms.

“it’s a privilege but the science is done by DST,&rdquo.

“That takes away a lot of the technology risk. What we must do is make sure it works as a method and make sure it matches the timing and functionality about that. ”