The Australian Defence Force has selected Northrop Grumman to provide systems that will expand Australia’s ability to fully realize its investment in the most advanced U.S. military satellites and increase communications coverage, capacity and connectivity for Australian troops and commanders worldwide.
The ADF’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group awarded the $223 million (Australian) contract to Northrop Grumman Australia last month.
Australia joined the Wideband Global SATCOM system program in 2007, providing funds to expand the constellation in return for a worldwide share of WGS bandwidth.
Joint Project 2008 is a large multiphase project to deploy an integrated wideband satellite communications system for the ADF. Under Phase 5B2 of the program, Northrop Grumman and its partners ViaSat Inc. and Optus will deliver a satellite ground station at Wagga Wagga in New South Wales and a wideband SATCOM network management system that supports home station and deployed forces.
The ground station and network management system will be integrated into the WGS constellation of highly capable, secure military communications satellites.
Northrop Grumman will provide a network management capability aligned with and functionally similar to the one developed for the United States that successfully manages and monitors the WGS system. It will be complemented by the proven performance of the ViaSat dual-band satellite terminal and the Australian operating experience of Optus.
“Our team of Northrop Grumman, ViaSat and Optus will provide the ADF a comprehensive, mature, proven solution for taking full advantage of Australia’s investment in the WGS global communications system with expandability to meet future needs,” said Ian Irving, chief executive, Northrop Grumman Australia.
Operating out of Orlando, Florida, Northrop Grumman has been providing the United States with satellite communications software tools for nearly 20 years that are critical in the activation and operations of the nine WGS satellites in orbit. The company’s Satellite Communications Operations and Planning Element (SCOPE) aligns with the U.S. system and provides an integrated operations and network management software that models, plans, schedules and monitors satellite communications and ground station networks.
“Northrop Grumman’s SCOPE core capabilities are the foundation of this proven, operational system that manages and monitors satellite communications today,” Irving said. “That experience forms the ADF sovereign capability, providing benefits to Australia while reducing program risk.”
The WGS constellation is a vital military asset providing Australia, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and New Zealand with reliable and secure communications services worldwide 24-hours a day, seven days a week.