30 Juli 2009

Australia's Defence Satellite Programme

30 Juli 2009

Australia's Defence White Paper 2009 in Space and IT

IAI's Tecsar satellite from Israel (image Defense Industry Daily)

Shared space capabilities and technologies are seen as a key linchpin of Australia’s defense relationship with America, and Australia’s ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) capabilities in general will be closely coordinated with the USA, and the US Pacific Fleet.

Australia will buy a remote sensing satellite, probably based on a high-resolution, cloud-penetrating, synthetic aperture radar. The USA will be given access to the system’s imagery. Note that India, facing a similar need, bought and launched an IAI TECSAR satellite from Israel.

Wideband Global SATCOM (image : Boeing)

The Government will continue the Wideband Global SATCOM partnership with the USA, and will accelerate decision making around the Narrowband UHF satellite communications capabilities needed to support land operations. Options include commercial capabilities, partnership in American programs like MUOS, and cooperation with other countries.

MUOS-Mobile User Objective System (image :Lockheed Martin)

Like the USA, Australia is waking up to the threat and reality of cyber-attacks. The White Paper promises stepped-up investment in this area, to include a Cyber Security Operations Centre.

MUOS satellite and ground station schematic (image : Navy.Mil)

On the flip side, Electronic Warfare against enemy ships, planes, and radars is seen as a strategic priority for Australia, who will be funding several projects in this area and establishing a Joint EW Centre to coordinate efforts across all branches of the ADF.

The proliferation of satellite killers and space junk alike have led Australia to seek a focus on “space situational awareness” as the basis of research, and add a career stream for space specialists.

See Also :

Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station, Geraldton

Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (photo : Google Earth)

The Australian Defence Satellite Communications Ground Station is located at Kojarena, 30 km east of Geraldton in Western Australia. It is operated by the ADF Defence Signals Division [DSD]. As of November 2005, the base was staffed by 79 personnel, and housed five radomes and eight satellite antennas.

Australian Defence Satellite Communication Station, Geraldton, Western Australia. (photo : DefenceGovAu)

The Kojarena station is a major Australian DSD signals interception facility, and is part of a worldwide system of satellite communications keyword monitoring known as Echelon operating within the wider UKUSA signals intelligence system.
Australian Defence Satellite Communication Station, Geraldton, Western Australia (photo : DefenceGovAu)

In November 2007 the Australian government announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States government for the building of an additional but separate facility within the grounds of the ADSCGS. This is to consist of three small buildings, three 19-metre antennas, and two smaller antennas making up a joint US-Australian ground station for the US Department of Defense Mobile User Objective System, a narrow-band networked satellite constellation for Ultra-High-Frequency satellite communications enabling secure all-weather and all-terrain 3-G mobile telecommunications.

Inside the Australian Defence Satellite Communication Station (photo : DefenceGovAu)

The Kojarena MUOS facility will be one of
four MUOS ground stations, with the others being located Niscemi, Sicily (Naval Air Station Sigonella), Virginia (Northwest location) and Wahiawa, Hawaii (Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific [NCTAMSPAC]).

(Nautilus Institute)

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