Enhanced Communications For Deployed Forces

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28th April 2010, 08:15pm - Views: 519

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Minister for Defence

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


Enhanced communications for deployed forces

The Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, today announced that the

Government has approved a significant initiative to enhance communications support

to the Australian Defence Force, including in the Middle East Area of Operations.

Under Defence Capability Plan Joint Project 2008 Phase 5A, Defence is already in

the process of acquiring part of the Intelsat IS-22 UHF payload providing coverage

over the Indian Ocean Region.  A contract for the provision of this payload was

signed with Intelsat in April 2009.

Today’s announcement involves approval to exercise the Government’s option to

purchase the full ultra-high frequency (UHF) payload on the Intelsat IS-22

communications satellite at an additional cost of around $193 million.  This brings the

total IS-22 payload purchase cost to $475.1 million.

“Purchasing the full satellite payload will improve operational effectiveness and

enhance the communications support to Australia’s deployed forces in the Middle

East and Afghanistan,” Senator Faulkner said.

Coinciding with the visit by the United States Department of Defense Vice Chairman

of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General James Cartwright, Senator Faulkner also

announced that Australia and the United States have signed a Memorandum of

Understanding (MOU) on sharing their narrowband UHF communications resources.

“This initiative will provide the United States added communications capacity for its

operations in Afghanistan by utilising the Australian payload on the IS-22

communications satellite.  In turn the Australian Defence Force will gain access to

communications capacity over the Pacific Ocean region from United States’ satellite

resources,” Senator Faulkner said.

The UHF Communications MOU complements the Wideband Global System satellite

partnership between Australia and the United States.  The arrangement will result in

significant savings for both nations, provide a more robust communications capability

for the warfighter and add another dimension to the Australian-US Alliance.

The satellite will be launched by the Intelsat Corporation in 2012.

US Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright and Vice

Chief of the Defence Force Lieutenant General David Hurley exchanged the

SATCOM MOU in Canberra today.

Media Note: Imagery and vision of the joint signing will be available at:

Media contacts:

Colin Campbell (John Faulkner):

02 6277 7800 or 0407 787 181

Defence Media Liaison:

02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

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