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Defence modernises SATCOM R&D facilities

A world-class, purpose-built research facility at DST Group’s Edinburgh site in South Australia will support the development of a next-generation satellite communications (SATCOM) system for the ADF.

A robust military SATCOM capability provides the ADF’s primary means of long-range communications and is critical in enabling the ADF to operate globally in an increasingly complex and contested environment.

With access to a worldwide network of high quality and high capacity communications satellites, Defence is upgrading and developing its ground-based infrastructure to ensure ADF personnel continue to have access to robust and reliable satellite communications.

Senior DST Group researcher Edward Arbon says the modernised research facility enables his team to operate directly with Australia’s current and emerging military satellite communication systems.

The new facility has been certified against stringent performance specifications not previously achievable.  This means that it can be used in national and international exercises, and in support of operational satellite communications.

“The facility’s new capabilities come online at an opportune time, with the ADF increasingly engaged with the space domain,” says Arbon.

A recent example of DSTG’s own SATCOM research, which will be boosted by the new facility, is the Cortex satellite spectrum monitoring system.

Cortex is an invaluable tool for Defence network operators who get satellite links up and running, and assist users in the field. Operating as a constant ‘eye in the sky’, Cortex detects any anomalies in the system and provides operators with enhanced situational awareness of what is happening across the network.

With the new research facility now integrated into the wider Defence SATCOM network (albeit customised for R&D), DSTG researchers are able to more easily identify where innovative technology like Cortex can provide the most benefit for network operators and users.

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