Construction of a new Defence satellite ground station has officially begun, with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Defence Minister Christopher Pyne at Kapooka to kick off the construction phase of JP 2008 Phase 5B2.
SGS-E will be a key component of the Australian Defence Force’s future satellite communications (SATCOM) capability, delivered by Northrop Grumman Australia and Viasat under Joint Project (JP) 2008 Phase 5B2.
The facility will provide the ADF access to military communications satellites such as the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) constellation, which allows ADF personnel deployed across the Indo-Pacific region to connect to strategic information communications technology networks in Australia. Additionally, SGS-E will provide access to a range of commercial communications satellite services.
"I’m pleased to be at Kapooka – The Home of the Soldier – today with representatives from the project’s contractors, Northrop Grumman Australia and Viasat, for this ground-breaking activity which will provide flexibility to the Australian Defence Force wideband beyond-line-of-sight communications," Minister McCormack said.
Commercial building company Hansen Yuncken is leading construction of SGS-E, with AECOM providing design and civil engineering support. The construction will begin later this year and is estimated to provide more than 100 jobs across 22 different trades.
Ian Irving, chief executive of Northrop Grumman Australia said, "Northrop Grumman and Viasat will provide the ADF a comprehensive and proven solution for taking full advantage of Australia’s investment in the WGS communications system. Our solution will also provide the ADF the flexibility necessary to accommodate future needs."
The SGS-E project is a major Defence beyond-line-of-sight communications capability and has a requirement to integrate with the ADF communication networks. The DTCN provides the terrestrial communications connectivity needed by SGS-E to extend the Defence strategic networks to deployed ADF assets in support of operations. The DTCN at Wagga is currently being upgraded under the JP 2047 - Terrestrial Communications Project for existing Defence needs.
Minister Pyne said the new ground station would provide site and frequency redundancy to the WGS visible from mainland Australia.
"Once completed in 2021 the ground station will provide the satellite communications gateway on the east coast of Australia, and in conjunction with the Wideband SATCOM NMS will deliver a holistic satellite communications network management and situational awareness capability to the ADF," he said.
"This will ensure the ADF has an end-to-end communications service consistent with the operational need for network enabled operations. Today’s ceremony represents the beginning of construction work, which is critical to the broader $220 million program to significantly enhance the communications capability of the ADF while providing local jobs during the construction phase."