Last week, the US State Department approved the sale of up to 850 Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare Increment 1 Block 1 (JCREW I1B1) Systems and related equipment to Australia.
CAPTION: A man-portable Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare – JCREW – package, developed by the US Navy to protect soldiers from advanced radio-controlled IEDs. The system provides a protective electronic bubble around warfighters. US Navy photo.
Total value of the full purchase, if or when ordered, is estimated at about US$245 million.
Today [Sunday], Australia’s Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds announced an upfront investment of AUD$88 million will deliver 80 mounted and 115 dismounted (total 195) systems would be brought progressively into service starting in 2022/23.
“Australian troops are one step closer to the latest technology to combat the threat of IEDs,” Senator Reynolds said.
“We will begin the procurement of the jamming devices as part of stage one of the Joint Counter Improvised Explosive Device Capability Project, LAND 154 Phase 4.
“This proposed acquisition is part of a $1billion investment in counter-IED capability over the next 10 years.
“Australian forces have used countermeasure systems against the persistent threat of IED attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this new technology will only improve their ability to save and protect lives on operations around the world.
“In 2020, the government will consider the purchase of the full complement of systems.”
This first purchase is just a fraction of the package approved under the US Foreign Military Sales approval process.
Minister Reynolds said the investment was part of a broader plan to modernise the Australian Army, which included new Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled howitzers – the latter being a dodgy election-campaign promise that has barely been spoken of since.