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Monday, 11 August 2003
Page: 13263

Senator Chris Evans asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 10 June 2003:

In relation to the Soldier Combat System project (Project Land 125) in the Defence Capability Plan (DCP):

(1) Can a description of all of the phases of this project be provided.

(2) (a) What was the original timeline for the completion of the project, including the dates for each of the phases in the project; and (b) when was the project due to be completed.

(3) What was the original budget for this project, including the budget for each of the phases in the project.

(4) (a) What is the current schedule for the completion of this project, including the dates for each of the phases in the project; and (b) when is the project due to be completed.

(5) What is the current budget for this project, including the budget for each of the phases in the project.

(6) (a) What has been the total cost of this project to date; and (b) what has been the cost for each completed phase.

(7) Has the Government approved funding for Phase 3 of this project; if not, when is it expected that the Government will grant approval for Phase 3 of this project.

(8) Why was Phase 3 of this project deferred by 12 months in the DCP Supplement in 2002.

Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) The goal of Project Land 125 is to provide an integrated system of personal equipment, weapons and sensors for our soldiers. The project is currently planned to be progressed in several phases, as follows:

Phase 1 A capability definition study;

Phase 2 A project definition study;

Phase 3 Initial Acquisition;

Phase 4 Further Acquisition; and

Phase 5 Technology Enhancements and Through-Life Support.

(2) (a) Phase 1 was planned to start in 1996 and complete in 1998.

Phase 2 was planned to start in 2000 and complete in 2004.

Phase 3 was planned to have a 2003/2004 Year of Decision.

Phase 2 was subsequently split into two sub-phases, with Phase 2A approved initially in 1999 and increased in scope and cost in 2000. The 2000 Defence White Paper brought forward Phase 3 to a 2002/2003 Year of Decision, to follow on from Phase 2A, with a new Phase 4 added with a 2007/2008 planned Year of Decision. Subsequently the first part of Phase 3 was redefined as Phases 2B and 2C and these were planned for a 2003/2004 Year of Decision to follow Phase 2A, with the balance of Phase 3 - initial acquisition - planned for a 2006/2007 Year of Decision. The project is currently subject to review by Government as part of the overall regular review of the Defence Capability Plan.

(b) The project was always expected to be evolutionary in nature, buying and updating equipment over time, so there was no defined end date for the project as a whole, although the original planning target was for Phase 3 to end around 2008.

(3) Phase 1 $2m (1994 prices).

Phase 2 $11m (1999 prices).

Phase 3 $450m to $600m.

(4) (a) and (b) The planned completion dates of each phase under current planning is as follows:

Phase 1 was completed in 1998/1999;

Phase 2A is expected to finish in 2003;

Phase 2B & 2C are planned for completion by around 2006;

Phase 3 is planned for completion around 2008; and

The completion dates of Phases 4 and 5 will be depend on progress with earlier phases.

(5) The costs of currently planned phases, based on the 2001 Defence Capability Plan, are as follows:

Phase 1 was completed at a cost of $2m;

Phase 2 has a proposed cost of $50m - $70m. Phase 2A has an approved budget of $14m with Phases 2B and 2C subject to further Government consideration;

Phase 3 has a proposed cost of $450m - $600m;

Phase 4 has a proposed cost of $350m - $450m; and

Phase 5 was not programmed in the last Defence Capability Plan.

(6) (a) $7m.

(b) Phase 1 cost $2m. The remaining $5m is part of the uncompleted Phase 2A.

(7) No. The 2001 Defence Capability Plan proposed a 2005/2006 Year of Decision for Phase 3.

(8) The structure of the project phasing has been varied to reflect a refinement of the acquisition strategy, notably the current plans to develop the project cooperatively with the United States Army Land Warrior Program. The current timing of Phase 3 reflects this evolution of acquisition strategy as well as wider priorities in the overall Defence Capability Plan.