The Australian Defense Forces will stop using Israeli defense company Elbit’s Battle Management System (BMS) starting in mid-June, Australian Defense Magazine reported last week.
The ADF informed Elbit Australia about the decision without giving any explanation, the report said.
Tensions had been simmering between Elbit and the Australian Defense Department, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported last week. Elbit was imposing “huge premiums” because it has a monopoly on the system, an officer familiar with the matter was quoted as saying.
“People are getting the sh**s with Elbit exploiting their monopoly to impose huge premiums,” the officer said. “And there are definite concerns that the Israelis are backdooring the system for information.”
Elbit’s BMS allows commanders to better communicate and coordinate during complex battlefield scenarios and operations with electronic displays of maps and other critical combat data.
The project first began in 2009 and was fully operational by 2015.
Elbit won another ADF tender in 2018, a five-year $150 million contract with the option to extend for up to seven more years. Its BMS-M was integrated into at least 1,000 Australian Army vehicles, and its BMS-D was used by more than 1,500 soldiers.
The system is reaching its end-of-life in the coming months, and the ADF is preparing a tender for the next phase of its digitization solution.
The ADF is considering awarding its next tender to a US company, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
In a statement provided to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, Elbit Systems of Australia Managing Director Maj.Gen. (Retired) Paul McLachlan AO, CSC, refuted the claims that there were security issues.
The company, he said “utilizes secure software development processes in collaboration with the Department of Defence, including the provision of all source code. Elbit Systems of Australia will continue to work closely with the Australian Defence Force to deliver its network capability requirements, utilizing our 250-strong workforce, including 80 military veterans and 100 systems and software engineers.”
“Elbit Systems of Australia is expanding and enhancing our proven ability to bring world-leading innovative technologies to meet Australian capability requirements for the Australian Defence Force, homeland security and emergency management agencies into the future,” McLachlan added.