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Blacktree Technology joins Airbus-led JP9102 team

The local firm has been tapped to support Airbus’ bid to deliver future military satellite communications to the ADF.

The local firm has been tapped to support Airbus’ bid to deliver future military satellite communications to the ADF.

Blacktree Technology has been named as the first member of ‘Team Maier’ — an Airbus-led team gunning for the Commonwealth government’s JP 9102 Australian Defence SATCOM System contract.

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The Australian firm, known for developing ultra-high frequency (UHF) ground systems, has been working with Airbus for approximately 15 years as part of the UK Ministry of Defence’s Skynet program, installing UHF antennas for three of Airbus’ satellite ground station sites.

“Working with Airbus on the Skynet program to deliver innovative solutions to the UK MOD was a key enabler in our mission to become a global market leader in SATCOM ground segment solutions,” Joe Nevin, CEO of Blacktree said.

“Blacktree’s reach now extends from our headquarters in Australia, to solving communications problems for customers in the UK, Europe, US, and to our long-standing customer, the Australian Defence Force. 

“We welcome the opportunity to join Team Maier to deliver world leading, proven, sovereign solutions to military SATCOM programs in Australia and, in particular, JP 9102.”

Airbus’ teaming arrangement with Blacktree forms part of its commitment to achieving supporting capability objectives, while also contributing to the broader development of the local defence and space industries.

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Airbus has pledged to collaborate with other stakeholders across space, technology and academia.

“At Airbus, we are always looking to increase our engagement with experts in military SATCOM, particularly SMEs, an approach that has proven successful and beneficial to all parties on the Skynet 5 program,” Martin Rowse, campaign lead for the JP 9102 program, commented.  

“With this latest move, we will collaborate with Blacktree to explore how we can support the development of their capability and increase innovative solutions to existing and future customers.

“This is key as the Australian Defence Force prepares to move to a fully sovereign military satcom provision under the JP 9102 program.”

Airbus will be competing against a number of other contractors for JP 9102, including Boeing Defence Australia (BDA) and Lockheed Martin Australia.

Last month, BDA revealed Leidos Australia, Viasat and the Indigenous Defence and Infrastructure Consortium (IDIC) would join Saber and ClearBox in supporting its push to secure the contract.

The BDA-led team has committed to building in-country space capability, aimed at providing the Australian Defence Force with flexibility, resilience and agility. 

Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin has announced leadership changes to drive its expansion in the space domain.

The firm appointed Mike Scott as program director and Julia Dickinson as chief engineer, military satellite communications.

Dickinson will be responsible for the overall Australian engineering performance for Lockheed Martin’s JP 9102 program solution.

The JP 9102 tender is scheduled to close on 10 January.

[Related: Boeing bolsters JP 9102 team]


Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.

Blacktree Technology joins Airbus-led JP9102 team
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