Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The Australian Department of Defense has signed a $12.1 million contract deal with Raytheon Australia for the first stage of development for the Short Range Ground Based Air Defense project.
Announced Wednesday by Christopher Pyne, Australia's minister for defense industry, the contract will "include Risk Mitigation Activities to inform the final system configuration, which will create up to 10 new jobs."
"The year-long Risk Mitigation Activity will examine the system's use in an Australian context," Pyne said. "It's a significant project and the work will ensure we make the right decisions to protect our troops."
Wednesday's announcement is just the first step in a project estimated to be worth up to $2 billion.
"The Government has committed to the highly successful National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System [NASAMS], which will be adapted to Australian requirements," Pyne said. "Importantly, this work will investigate potential capability enhancements to inform the NASAMS's final system configuration, including integration with existing Australian Defense Force equipment."
In April, Australia set out to develop a ground-based missile capability using the Kongsberg-designed National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System.
The NASAMS-based solution for the Australian Army came through a single supplier limited tender process to Raytheon Australia, the prime systems integrator. Kongsberg, which manufactures NASAMS along with Raytheon, will be a major subcontractor.
The Australian NASAMS will feature locally made components and be mounted on Hawkei vehicles.
"This will include integration testing with CEA Technologies' phased array radar system and Thales Australia's Hawkei and Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles," Pyne said. "The Short Range Ground Based Air Defense system will provide the innermost layer of Australia's enhanced integrated air and missile defense capability, operated by Army's 16th Air Land Regiment."