The Australian Government Department of Defence has announced Lockheed Martin Australia as the preferred tenderer to deliver on a new Australian Defence Force (ADF) satellite communication system, through Joint Project 9102 Phase 1. Lockheed Martin Australia will progress to the next stage of the Defence procurement process, which includes engaging in collaborative tender clarification and improvement activities. The new satellite communication system will include: new Defence controlled and operated geo-stationary communications satellites; multiple ground stations across Australia; Integrated Satellite Communications Management System; and two new satellite communications operations centres.
Head of Air Defence and Space Systems Division, Air Vice-Marshal David Scheul said,”The multi-billion dollar project would deliver Australia’s first sovereign-controlled satellite communication system over the Indo-Pacific ocean regions. Currently across Defence there is up to 89 capabilities which depend on satellite communications. Once delivered, the new system will increase the resilience, agility and flexibility of Defence’s military satellite capability.”
“We are proud to be selected as the preferred bidder to deliver this critical capability to the Australian Defence Force. This capability will provide the Australian Defence Force with robust connectivity and reliable information when and where they need it, and by extension, contribute further to the growth and development of Australia’s defence and space industries,” Warren McDonald, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand said.
Lockheed Martin has assembled a team of Australian companies including Inovor Technologies, EM Solutions, AV-Comm, Linfox, Shoal Group, Ronson Gears, Calytrix Technologies, Conscia, Clearbox Systems, DXC and Blacktree Technology to deliver ground and control segments and beyond for JP9102. Lockheed Martin has also partnered with the Victorian Government to establish Victoria as the engineering and technical hub for the company’s JP9102 solution, which it expects to create more than 200 advanced space industry jobs in the state. The new satellite communication system will provide coverage from the central Indian Ocean out to the Solomon Islands from around 2027. Lockheed Martin’s offer drew on its US experience providing four out of five satellite communications systems for the US Space Force, including the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS).
The Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) is a United States Space Force system intended to meet the United States’ Department of Defense infrared space surveillance needs through the first two to three decades of the 21st century. The SBIRS program is designed to provide key capabilities in the areas of missile warning, missile defense, battlespace characterization and technical intelligence via satellites in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), sensors hosted on satellites in highly elliptical orbit (HEO), and ground-based data processing and control. The prime contractor for SBIRS is Lockheed Martin, with Northrop Grumman as the major subcontractor. Lockheed Martin also provides the satellite for SBIRS GEO. The system’s expected deployment was delayed from December 2009 to 2011 because of problems with Lockheed’s workmanship on system components, including unresolved software malfunctions and several broken solder joints in a subcontract procured gyroscope assembly on the first spacecraft being built.