Army | Canberra
The recent Government approval for Land 53 Phase 1 BR (L53-1BR) Night Fighting Equipment (NFE) Replacement has enabled the ADF to again take the lead with cutting edge NFE technology. The project went to tender in April 2014 and after extensive deliberation and evaluation was approved in late 2016.
As a result Australia will continue to maintain technological edge for ADF combatants via L53-1BR. This acquisition will replace the legacy Ninox night vision goggles (NVG), lasers, mounts and head harnesses with cutting edge and market leading equipment enhancing the lethality and situational awareness of combatants.
The new equipment will consist of a binocular NVG, Laser Aiming and Illuminating Device (LAID), Laser Aiming Illuminating and Ranging Device (LAIRD), Head Harness and Helmet Mount. The selection of this equipment was through a detailed tender process and field trials with from a broad selection of combatants including Infantry, Transport, Special Forces and RAAF.
The NFE is to be provided by L-3 Warrior systems and a separate contractor for the Head Harness. This equipment will provide a significant enhancement for combatants across Army, Navy and Air Force. The components consist of:
Key improvements include:
The delivery of the equipment will occur in yearly batches (out till 2022) with maintenance support provided locally for the NFE. 1 RAR and the School of Infantry will be the first to receive the equipment, to enable complete equipping as part of the roll out of the EF88 with its advanced ancillaries package. This delivery will enable development of the doctrine and training for this enhanced equipment for employment across the wider ADF. The NFE delivered via L53-1BR will complement the equipment delivered by the soldier combat ensemble (Land 125 Phase 3B) and - Enhanced F88 (Land 125 Phase 3C Lethality).
The NFE will integrate with the ancillaries delivered for the EF88 and selected ADF small arms under separate projects. “This tranche will replace the night fighting equipment for the ADF and the next tranche will shift to new technologies to maintain this night fighting overmatch," Lieutenant Colonel Ben McLennan SO1 Soldier Systems Program at Army Headquarters told ADM.
The continual enhancement of Night Fighting Equipment is coordinated via the Night Fighting Equipment Roadmap which continues to 2040. This is fully funded in the Defence Integrated Investment Program, with acquisition at approximately $2 billion delivered via three sequential night fighting projects; L53-1BR, Land 53 Phase 2 and Land 4110.
This roadmap will ensure Australia maintains the capability edge for ADF combatants with NFE as we transition to new technologies. Technologies being investigated included fused analogue night vision, digital night vision, fused digital night vision and augmented reality for future tranches and projects.
These future technologies will support the future integration into the ADF battle management system and future planned commander’s decision support tools to provide enhanced 24hr vision dominance.
The point of contact for Army Night Fighting Projects is Major Cameron Fraser, Soldier Combat Systems Program – Army.
This article first appeared in the December - January 2017 issue of ADM.