Australia To Cancel Battle Management Systems Contact With Israeli Elbit Systems

Tensions between Australia’s military and a controversial Israeli weapons manufacturer are threatening to topple a multi-billion-dollar IT system that allows Army commanders to control units in the field.

The Israeli technology allows Army commanders to better coordinate various land assets during complex battlefield scenarios.

The Army has not commented, but sources say it is considering scrapping the technology contract.

There have been concerns over the system, as well as storing of information and data.

Defence is refusing to comment on the saga but several sources with knowledge of the dispute say the Army is now moving to scrap its Battle Management System (BMS) produced by Elbit Systems Australia.

The digital Israeli technology allows Army commanders to better coordinate various land assets during complex battlefield scenarios, where previously they had to rely on “analogue” methods such as maps and radios.

The United States military has for years taken special precautions while operating alongside Australian vehicles that are equipped with the Elbit BMS, because of security concerns about the Israeli technology.

Military figures have said simmering tensions between the Defence Department and Elbit Systems Australia have come to a head in recent weeks, with the Army now moving to stop using its existing deployed BMS.

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One Army source, who spoke to the ABC on the condition of anonymity, described the standoff as a “complete shambles”.

“People are getting the shits 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”.

The ABC understands Elbit employs 190 staff in Australia, but Defence is now looking to use an American company which is yet to properly establish itself in Australia.

A week ago, the ABC sent detailed questions about the contractual dispute to the Defence Department, but it is yet to respond.

The ABC has also contacted the federal government for comment, but a response has not been received.

A spokesperson for Elbit Systems Australia told the ABC “we will not be commenting at this stage”.

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