CEA selected to build AIR 6500 JBMS arrays


CEA Technologies has been selected to build four new air defence radar arrays for the Phase 1 Joint Air Battle Management System (JABMS) element of the ADF’s Project AIR 6500 Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) system requirement.

A July 21 release from Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy says the new radars will be a critical component of the JABMS. “The new sensors will be able to detect aircraft and missile threats at greater ranges and with increased accuracy than our current systems, allowing for real-time critical information to be received and affording greater warning, decision and response time,” Minister Conroy said in the release. “The radars will enhance situational awareness and interoperability across the Joint Force, and with our allies.”

Two companies – Lockheed Martin Australia and Northrop Grumman Australia – were shortlisted in 2021 to bid for the final stage of the competitive evaluation process for AIR 6500. With the Commonwealth’s selection of CEA to provide the key sensors, and the AIR 6502 Ph 1 medium-range ground-based air defence (MRGBAD) requirement to also be decided separately, either Lockheed or Northrop Grumman will be selected to these and other elements together in a networked IAMD system.

CEA has already fielded phased array sensors on the Royal Australian Navy’s ANZAC class frigates as part of the   Project SEA 1448 Phase 2 Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade and follow-on Phase 4B Mid-life Capability Assurance Program, is building arrays for the Army’s Project LAND 19 Phase 7B Advanced NASAMS short-range ground-based air defence (SRGBAD) system, and will provide the primary air-defence sensors for the Navy’s Project SEA 5000 Hunter class frigates.

“The contract will directly contribute to growing the CEA Technologies workforce from 530 staff to over 800 in coming years,” Minister Conroy said. “The Australian designed and built radars will use CEA Technologies’ proven Active Electronically Scanned Array radar technology. The expansion of CEA Technologies into ground-based sensor applications using the same proven technologies demonstrates the strength of Australia’s defence industry.”

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