Project LAND 125 was launched in the 1990s, and this latest Phase 4 Integrated Soldier System (ISS) program seeks to assess next generation soldier technology along with training, simulation, and support capabilities. Phase 4 will deliver 14 different capability elements in three tranches out to 2032, at a cost of up to $1.5 billion. We estimate that in 2023 the ADF will be investing in Phase 4 of the Land 125 project.
A new approach is required when it comes to soldiers' capabilities, as well as the equipment they'll be using on the battlefield. With the Land 125 project, the army hopes to minimise the load of the soldiers but also to improve capability in terms of on the battlefield, which will include better safety features, better communication systems as well as an improved combat capability to allow them to perform better on the field.
To deliver this project, a wide range of skills will be needed. It will require: project management skills, sourcing skills, automation and electronics capabilities, simulation capabilities, as well as other skills related to understanding the nature of the battlefield.
Most importantly, when it comes to system engineering, it is key to understand how IT capabilities can be combined with equipment capabilities. We are looking for engineers with an overall understanding of how to put systems in place, test and validate them for use in the future.
It is important for a system engineer to possess a range of skills in engineering, such as understanding challenges or problems, being able to conduct research, and coming up with prototypes and solutions. Prototypes and solutions are around the multidisciplinary approach to engineering.
“There is a misconception that system engineering is only focused on IT whereas the system engineers we are talking about here are multidisciplinary”.
So it could be a mixture of mechanical, electronic, electrical, even IT engineering involved. A sound system engineer is a problem solver, who thinks outside the box, can come up with solutions that are not traditionally sourced from the market and fix the problem quickly and in the most cost-effective way for the customer.
For this project, Australia is capable of sourcing its own system engineers. Currently, there is a greater demand for system engineers than what can be found on the market. That could change in the future, depending on the number of projects available and the number of new graduates coming out of University.
In this case, we cannot source talent from outside Australia since most engineers working on defence projects need a minimum level of security clearance, which requires them to be Australian citizens.
Finding and moving talent within Australia will be the principal challenge. At Easy Skill, we have already tackled this type of challenge. In the past, we were asked by one of the bidders to ramp up their technical writing and system engineering teams to finalise the bid. We successfully provided 5 to 6 staff members as well as contracted them from start to finish until the bid was submitted.
In the coming months, it will be necessary to clarify the project, the skills necessary, and develop a pipeline of engineers available for work within the next couple of months.
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