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15 Nov 04. An innovative Australian communications system, designed in collaboration with Royal Australian Signals Corps (RASC) to replace fragile fibre optic systems, is now finding export markets in New Zealand, Canada, UK and UAE.

P3 is a portable, field deployable product which transforms the way communications networks and general data & voice links are established in the field, providing cost effective solutions for Defence in a wide range of C4I applications. The product is currently in service with the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian Forces.

UAE interest for the product came at the 2003 DSEi exhibition, where P3 was on display with the Defence sponsored Team Australia stand. Following successful trials, UAE Signals issued a contract for product and training which was delivered in September 2004.

British Army’s Project UNICOM (Field Deployed Logistics) has just acquired ten of the systems for an operational trial as a precursor to wider acquisition. P3 has been under consideration by UNICOM since 2003 when trials proved the viability of the system in a specific local environment. At that time, the trial team also saw P3’s bandwidth and telephony capability as important advantages for wider Army tactical communications usage.

Melbourne company Defence Communications Industry, developed the P3 with input from Army Signallers and the JP126 Ph2A – rollout of Standard Defence Supply System (SDSS) Project team. The resulting deployment of SDSS, supported by the Field Logistics Management System, provides a seamless in and out of barracks logistics solution. The extension of LAN communications over DON10 (WD1/TT) cables to field-deployed logistics units was made possible with the use of P3.

Alec Umansky, Managing Director of DCI says “ADF was instrumental in the development of P3, and remains our most significant customer. For a small company like DCI to gain export sales is due in large part to the product being already in service with ADF”. While Army is the largest P3 user within ADF with nearly 400 systems in use, Royal Australian Air Forces’ deployed logistics rollout (CAMM2 Project) is set to acquire a quantity of systems for nationwide distribution.

P3 integrates three transmission channels, analogue and VoIP telephony in a portable, weather proof carry case with internal battery providing 8hrs full operation; and LAN interfaces to connect computers, video, sensors and other peripherals. As modern forces increasingly operate in smaller, independent units, having these features contained in one device makes it an important element in mobile ad hoc communications networks. Copper wire – familiar to soldiers, has the advantages of robustness and ease of rollout and repair in the field. P3 enables data transmission rates of 8M/bits over distances of up to 8kms, thus fully exploiting the advantages of copper wire.

DCI is pleased with the performance of P3. Alec Umansky says “P3 was a project of passion between industry and Defence. It started out as a niche product but over time is finding wider usage across the military, and in emergency and industrial applications.”

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