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The Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, announced on
April 28 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
The 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
“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
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 at a ceremony in Canberra.
The Boeing Company announced on April 8 that it has awarded
Melbourne-based Production Parts Pty Ltd a one-year contract
to provide rudder pedal kits for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The
contract also gives Production Parts options on future contracts Boeing
receives from the U.S. Navy and international customers.
“This contract not only demonstrates the global competitiveness of
Australian companies, but al so is a testament to the success of the
Australian government’s Office of Australian Industry Capability program,”
said Peter Nicholls, managing director of Production Parts. “This program
has enabled Production Parts to bid and win work with one of the world’s
largest defence primes, and we look for ward to a long-term relationship and
further opportunities with The Boeing Company.”
Production Parts was originally identified as a potential Boeing supplier
through the OAIC. Boeing established the OAIC in 2007 in coordination
with Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation to help qualified Australian
defence suppliers enter Boeing’s global supply chain. The OAIC works with
these primarily small-to-medium enterprises to identify bid opportunities
and to provide them with aerospace-focused training and mentoring.
“We’re delighted to see Production Parts join our global supply chain,”
said Ian Thomas, president, Boeing Australia & South Pacific. “This is
a promising partnership and comes at an exciting time for the defence
industry in Australia, particularly as the Boeing Super Hornet is about
to enter service with the Royal Australian Air Force. Boeing remains fully
committed to helping Australian small-to-medium enterprises generate
The Australian government became the first Super Hornet customer
outside the United States in 2007 when it signed a contract with the U.S.
Navy to acquire 24 F/A-18Fs. Australia’s first five Super Hornets arrived in
Australia in March. The remaining aircraft will be delivered throughout the
remainder of 2010 and 2011.
General James Cartwright and Lieutenant
General David Hurley. Credit: ADF
Enhanced communications for deployed forces
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