Communications Situational Awareness for Australia’s Submariners

Daronmont’s KESTREL Communications Electronic Support Measures (CESM) capability has been developed and refined over the past ten years through a series of CESM acquisition and support programs for the RAN. These programs include:

– HF Signal Surveillance system,

– KESTREL CESM for COLLINS Class Submarine,

– KESTREL Support Facility (KSF) and COLLINS Calibration System (CCS), and

– KESTREL Version Two.


KESTREL CESM system was developed in 2004 to replace the CESM equipment on the COLLINS Class Submarine (CCSM) to provide wideband signal search, narrowband audio interception and direction finding (DF) over the HF, VHF and UHF bands. Its success as an effective CESM led to the procurement of a second system. Both systems remain in service and are supported by Daronmont.

The HF Signal Surveillance system was developed as a subsystem to be integrated into the Australian strategic signal analysis environment to provide real time signal detection and narrowband channelisation in the HF frequency band.

The KESTREL Support Facility (KSF) was developed in 2007 to provide a permanent support environment based at Daronmont facilities in Mawson Lakes, South Australia. KSF consists of a replica of the platform DF and surveillance subsystems with simulation equipment for platform interfaces and antennas. Daronmont also developed a replacement calibration support system for RAN equipment which became obsolete in 2008, called the COLLINS Calibration System (CCS). The CCS can calibrate a KESTREL system installed on a platform, using a cooperative transmitter, which results in improved bearing estimate accuracy.

KESTREL Version Two was developed and built when support for a major GFE component of the original KESTREL CESM system was withdrawn by early 2009. The result of the 12 month project was a system that uses Daronmont designed and built subsystems for signal surveillance and DF. This development programme was recognised in the 2010 Australian Defence Magazine (ADM) Defence Material Organisation (DMO)/Industry Team of the Year Awards for Excellence, receiving a commendation for outstanding achievement in the Sustainment Category.