Defence hands AU$20m data centre contract to Datapod

As part of the Australian government's AU$1 billion injection into Defence.

Australia's Department of Defence has awarded Canberra-based firm Datapod a two-year, AU$20 million contract to provide the agency with portable, containerised data systems that can be deployed by sea, air, or road.

Under the contract, Datapod will build four scaleable data centres that can house a range of Defence's IT equipment and other potential technologies and platforms.

"Our Defence force needs to be agile and responsive to the evolving threats we face," Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said.

"This investment recognises the need to have assets that can be deployed and re-deployed to meet operational needs, without unnecessary delays caused by constructing facilities with a long lead time."

The contract builds on an existing relationship that Datapod already has with Defence. The company has previously supplied other data centre facilities to the agencies.

The AU$20 million contract is part of the federal government's wider AU$1 billion investment package which has been touted would boost the country's defence industry.

Other initiatives that are expected to come from the AU$1 billion hand-out includes increased funding towards Defence's innovation, industry grants, skilling and micro-credentialing, and cyber training.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has labelled the package as a way to help small and medium-sized business as part of the defence industry supply chain.  

"Like much of the economy, our local defence industry is doing it tough because of COVID-19. This is especially so for small and medium-sized businesses, that are critical to jobs," the prime minister said.

"Supporting our defence industry is all part of our JobMaker plan -- especially high-paying, high-skilled jobs that ensure we are supporting a robust, resilient, and internationally competitive defence industry. We want to build our sovereign industrial capabilities and Australian workforce to keep our people safe."

Earlier this month, Defence announced it was looking to expand the capabilities of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with maritime unmanned aircraft systems (MUAS) that would be used for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting (ISR&T).

As part of a call for expressions of interest, Defence outlined how the RAN currently relies heavily on the sensors of its ships and helicopters, both of which are limited by range and endurance and could potentially expose the RAN to more threats.

Instead, Defence believes by bringing additional aviation assets, such as MUAS, it could extend the range of its ships' sensors and weapons

"The MUAS will provide a cost effective, persistent, and enduring ISR&T capability in the maritime environment, communications relay (to support beyond-line-of-sight communications) and geospatial data collection; while reducing the threat exposure of platforms and personnel," the tender document stated.

Defence expects the project to be delivered by 2024. 

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