Australia — New defence satellite launched to support troops in the Middle East

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. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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