Intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare

RAAF Base Edinburgh, in northern Adelaide, is the centre of the nation’s military intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare (ISREW) capabilities.

One of two Defence super-bases, Edinburgh has been home to the RAAF’s AP-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft for more than 40 years and will be home to the Orion’s replacement fleet.

Under a $1 billion contract, BAE Systems Australia and Airbus Group Australia Pacific are providing capability upgrades and support for the AP-3C aircraft to the end of their service life in 2019.

To replace the fleet, the Australian Government has approved the acquisition of 15 Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, with eight to be introduced in the early 2020s. It has also committed to acquiring seven MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicles. Both fleets will be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh.

South Australia is pursuing the early establishment of the Tritons’ ground control station, which controls their flight and operations, and processes, evaluates and disseminates the surveillance data collected.

Distributed Ground Station–Australia (interim), the RAAF’s centralised ISR processing, exploitation and dissemination system, is also being established in Adelaide, further cementing the state’s nation-leading position in this field.

One of the state’s key aerospace companies, Cobham Aviation Services, has been supporting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for the Australian Border Force from its Adelaide headquarters through its Special Mission business unit since 1995.

Under the $1 billion Project Sentinel contract, which started in 2008 and runs until 2021, Cobham Aviation Services supplied, modified and integrated the on-board mission systems for 10 Dash 8 maritime surveillance aircraft, and now operates and maintains the aircraft.

From 2016, the company will provide fixed-wing search and rescue services over Australia’s maritime areas of responsibility for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority under a $640 million, 12-year contract.

For further information please direct all enquiries to Reg Carruthers, Director, Aerospace at Defence SA. Tel: +61 8 8226 6637 or