Cubic Defense Systems has been chosen as preferred contractor for the development of a fully instrumented air combat training and electronic warfare system evaluation range for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

However, no contract negotiations are expected before late this year due to significant cost increases associated with the project. The Australian Department of Defence plans to seek an extra $A20 million ($12.23 million) of government money for the project later this year. Initial funding, believed to have been set at $A90 million, was provided under the 1995 Australian defence budget.

The Cubic bid totalled over $A100 million, with the electronic warfare component acknowledged as the primary driver behind cost rises. Cubic and Raytheon were shortlisted in October.

The new training range will be located at the Delamere bombing range, near the Tindal RAAF base in Australia's Northern Territory. The project requires 57manoeuvre instrumentation pods for use in training F/A-18, F-111, C-130 and AP-3C aircrews.

The proposed EW architecture is based on six, open loop, programmable RF threat emitters. A single ultra-violet emitter is also required to stimulate aircraft missile warning approach receivers.

Cubic will start work with the RAAF on a joint risk reduction study lasting up to eight months. Cubic is teamed with British Aerospace Australia to support in-country development and operation of the range. The EW work will be undertaken by the GeorgiaTech institute in the USA.

Source: Flight International