Defence and one of Australia’s fastest growing primes have announced the signing of a $223 million contract to improve the Australian Defence Force’s communication through a defence satellite ground station.
Northrop Grumman Australia's joint bid with Viasat and Optus secured the contract, which will see the prime acquire, construct and support the satellite ground station in NSW's Kapooka Military Area in Wagga Wagga. The contract will also see the construction of a new satellite network management system.
The facility will work with a similar station in Western Australia and will also provide satellite imagery to guide Australian maritime patrols in the South China Sea.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said the new station and its technology will play a vital role in defence and border protection, with potential to help deal with disasters in the region.
"The satellite ground station will enable deployed forces across the Pacific and Indian Ocean region to connect to Defence’s strategic information networks back in Australia," said Minister Pyne.
"The technology will assist border protection patrols and could even help deal with disasters in our region."
Minister for Defence Marise Payne said: "The system will enable reduced operational response times for establishing and restoring satellite communications services, significantly helping deployed forces."
Subject to parliamentary works committee approval, Australian company Hansen and Yuncken is set to start construction on the station later this year.
The project is part of JP 2008 Phase 5B2 to enable ADF personnel deployed across the Pacific and Indian Ocean region to connect to Defence's strategic information networks in Australia.
The JP 2008 Phase 5 project was created to provide capability originally planned for under the JP 2008 Phase 4 Next Generation SATCOM Capability project, a result of Phase 4 of the project being re-scoped to provide access to the wideband global satellite (WGS) capability.
Minister Pyne said once constructed the facility will be serviced by a small number of maintenance personnel and operated remotely.
The project is expected to be completed in mid-2021.
The $223 million contract is another victory for Northrop Grumman Australia, which recently opened a new repair facility at Royal Australian Air Force Base Edinburgh in South Australia and announced a $50 million investment in western Sydney with plans to establish an advanced defence electronics maintenance and sustainment centre.