Optus, Australia’s largest and most experienced satellite owner and operator, will lead a joint bid with Raytheon Australia and Thales Australia for Joint Project 9102, the Australian Defence Communication System program, to deliver the next generation of SATCOM technology to the Australian Defence Force.
Commenting on the bid, Optus Chief Executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said, “As sector pioneers and the leading investor in the Australian space industry, our solution will leverage our long track record of delivering for Australia’s Defence agencies, supporting Australian industry capabilities, and our unwavering commitment to deliver a sovereign solution that enhances Australia’s security.”
Since 1985, Optus has been Australia’s preeminent satellite provider, launching 10 satellites, operating 13 spacecraft, and providing support to over 100 international space programs. Since 2003, Optus has flown the C1 Satellite – which provides critical mission capabilities for Defence’s operations and, at the time of launch, was the world’s largest Defence-civilian spacecraft.
Optus currently flies 7 satellites – including NBN’s two Skymuster Satellites, with plans to deploy software-defined satellite Optus 11 in 2023 for Australia and New Zealand, making Optus the first satellite operator in Asia Pacific to launch a software-defined satellite that can provide both flexible concurrent broadcast and broadband services via a very high throughput satellite (VHTS) design.
“The bid team, Team AUSSAT, has a unique proposition being the only team with an unrivalled history of owning and operating satellites in Australia, by Australians, for Australians,” added Ms Rosmarin.
Raytheon Australia Managing Director Michael Ward said the company was ready to draw on decades of expertise in delivering certified and integrated space systems. “Raytheon Australia has been delivering certified sovereign space solutions and complex system integration to the Australian Defence Force for decades, partnering with them and local industry to unlock the full potential of satellite data.”
Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said the team of Optus, Raytheon Australia and Thales Australia would deliver a genuine sovereign Australian capability with the global reach to access world leading space technology from Europe and the USA.
“Thales Australia has been a trusted partner of the ADF for more than three decades, delivering advanced secure communication solutions, and we’re proud to partner with Optus and Raytheon Australia on this project.”
Ms Rosmarin added the bid provides a unique opportunity to grow Australian skills in a high-tech sector.
“Through Team AUSSAT’s bid, we will bring the best solution, capabilities and experience for the benefit of Australia, and the safety and security of all Australians.”
“We also have a unique opportunity to position Australia as a global leader in the space industry by growing our capabilities in STEM, leveraging Optus’ existing partnerships with local universities and providing opportunities for graduates to transition into the sector.”
Optus has invested more than $22 billion in its Australian telecommunications network and, with its partners, employs more than 19,000 Australians. Optus Satellite’s main gateway is in Belrose (NSW) with other operations in Lockridge (WA); Hume (ACT); and Regency Park (SA).