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Significant step in re-equipping our forces

2 June 2004

Another significant step in re-equipping our forces

The government has taken another step towards achieving the goal of a modernised, well equipped, and sustainable Defence Force across all three services.

Minister of Defence Mark Burton today announced the signing of a contract for the purchase of an identification, alerting, and cueing system that will complete the Army’s very low-level air defence capability for deployed land force elements.

Mark Burton says that the $10 million system is defined in the Defence Long-Term Development Plan as necessary to provide a well-equipped land force.

“The system will greatly enhance the Army’s air defence capability, helping to protect troops on the ground from such threats as low flying attack aircraft and helicopters. It will provide our forces with a ‘friend or foe’ identification system to detect aircraft and, more importantly, to determine if they are friendly or unknown.

“Right now, our air defence troop’s missile operators have to detect and identify aircraft visually. This lack of a cueing system limits our interoperability with other forces—an important factor in working together efficiently in training exercises or international deployments.

“This system, which will be linked through the Army’s new Tactical Mobile Communications System radios, will allow personnel to detect aircraft quickly and respond effectively. It will also be transportable on a mix of the Army’s in-service four tonne trucks and new light operational vehicles, greatly improving our Army’s mobility on the ground.

“Purchasing this new cueing system reinforces once again the positive progress we are making in re-equipping all three services of the NZDF,” said Mark Burton.

The system will be provided by Spanish company, Indra Sistemas, SA, and is likely to enter into service by December 2006.

Mark Burton stressed the importance of a planned, prioritised acquisitions programme to provide modern equipment to all three Services.

“We have ended the shameful level of neglect and ad-hoc acquisitions visited on our Defence Force throughout the 1990s. Our world-class personnel are getting the equipment to match their world-class skills, and I am proud to be part of a government that does more than pay lip service to investing in their future.”

Background

Questions and Answers: Alerting and Cueing System for the Very Low Level Air Defence (VLLAD) Capability

In April 1998, the New Zealand Army took delivery of the Mistral VLLAD weapon system. The system consisted primarily of missiles and missile launchers. The necessary alerting and cueing system was treated as a separate project, and was not purchased at that time.

What is an alerting and cueing system?

An alerting and cueing system detects aircraft, positively identifies whether the aircraft is friendly or unknown, and provides targeting information to air defence missile operators.

The key components of an alerting and cueing system are friend or foe identification units, a radar system, a command post, and weapons terminals (display units).

Why do we need an alerting and cueing system?

Without an alerting and cueing system, the VLLAD troop’s missile operators must rely on visually detecting and identifying aircraft. Reliance on visual detection and identification is a serious limitation because: The time available to react to a hostile aircraft is significantly reduced, particularly at night or in poor weather Limited reaction time increases the risk that a hostile aircraft will release its weapons, and Missile operators cannot easily distinguish between friendly and hostile aircraft. The Defence Long-Term Development Plan describes the alerting and cueing system as “a project necessary to provide a well-equipped land force.”

How will we use the complete VLLAD capability?

The complete VLLAD capability will help to protect deployed land force elements from air threats such as low flying attack aircraft and helicopters.

What is the cost of the alerting and cueing system?

Approximately NZ$10 million.

When will the complete VLLAD capability enter service?

The system is likely to enter into service by late 2006.

ENDS


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