Minister for Defence Materiel – New Defence satellite launched to support troops in the Middle East
26 March 2012
Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that a new Defence satellite was successfully launched in Kazakhstan overnight which will improve communications abilities for Australian Defence Force personnel operating in the Middle East.
The satellite was successfully launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11.10pm last night.
The launch of the IS-22 satellite was managed by Intelsat – an international satellite service provider.
Defence has purchased an Ultra High Frequency communications payload which forms part of the satellite.
More than 30 per cent of the satellite is dedicated to Australian Defence communications.
The Ultra High Frequency or UHF band is widely used for military satellite communications because of its adaptability to small, mobile terminals used by ground, sea and air forces.
Mr Clare said that the UHF band allows troops to communicate on the move better than other frequency bands.
“Satellite communications provide the backbone of the communications capability of most military equipment platforms and are vital to the effective conduct of ADF operations,” Mr Clare said.
“This new satellite will help our ground troops and Tactical Forces communicate better with each other and Headquarters.
“It will allow more effective communication in all types of terrain including desert and jungle environments.
“This satellite means we will be able to transmit voice and data anywhere between the west coast of Africa and the east coast of Australia.
“It will make it easier for commanders in Australia to provide troops on the ground with information faster and more effectively.
“It will also mean that troops can provide intelligence and information back to Headquarters.”
Currently, the ADF has limited use of United States’ satellites in this region.
The launch of the IS-22 means that Australia now has its own dedicated Defence satellite communications network in this region.
“We will continue to work in a resource sharing partnership with the United States to provide satellite network coverage world-wide – but this means we are no longer reliant on US satellites in the Middle East,” Mr Clare said.
The satellite will also be used for commercial purposes, but Defence has put in place high level security measures including data encryption to protect ADF communication links.
This $269 million program has delivered the project on time and within budget.
Intelsat is contracted to operate the satellite for 15 years after launch.
Video feed of the launch will be sent directly to Sydney TV newsrooms from Globecast.
Defence will also feed additional footage through to Parliament House.