The bushfire-prone Australian state of Victoria has commissioned 9000 digital portable and mobile radios designed and made by Christchurch-based Tait Communications.

Tait said the radios had been sold to more than 1200 brigades in the Country Fire Authority, which has 56,000 members and is one of the world's biggest emergency service organisations.

The installation forms a key part of an upgrade of the statewide radio system, which is being managed by CFA, Tait Communications and its local partner, AA Radio Services.

The project also represented one of the largest contracts of its kind for Tait Communications, which specialises in communications systems for public-safety organisations and utilities, Tait said.


Tait was selected to provide "P25" digital-capable radios as part of a US$29 million contract awarded in 2010.

P25 is an international standard for digital two-way wireless communications.

The standard, which is also used by the New Zealand police, allows for improved communications within and between agencies - especially emergency services.

Tait said the radios included greater water protection and the ability to filter out background noise from helicopters, trucks, sirens, hoses and machinery.

The installation also paved the way for planned future enhancements of CFA's communications such as GPS location and crystal-clear digital audio.

The system also allowed CFA to communicate with other state emergency-response agencies as new digital networks became available.

Tait Communications, which is owned by a charitable trust, was founded by electronics pioneer the late Sir Angus Tait in 1969. It employs about 800 people globally.