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Optus launches bid for major defence SATCOM project

The telecommunications giant has teamed up with major defence firms as part of a push to secure a defence contract.

user icon Charbel Kadib
Mon, 23 Aug 2021
Optus launches bid for major defence SATCOM project
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Optus has revealed it will lead a joint bid with Raytheon Australia and Thales Australia for the Commonwealth government’s JP 9102 Australian Defence SATCOM System contract.

In leading the new co-operative, referred to as Team AUSSAT, Optus is expected to leverage its experience operating seven telecommunications satellites, which include NBN’s 2 Skymuster Satellites, and its work to deploy software-defined satellite Optus 11 in 2023 for Australia and New Zealand.

Optus Satellite’s main gateway is located in Belrose, NSW, with other operations based out of Lockridge, Western Australia; Hume, ACT; and Regency Park, South Australia.

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Meanwhile, Raytheon Australia and Thales Australia would be tasked with tapping into their defence capabilities to deliver a sovereign system designed to enable the joint command and control of deployed Joint Task Forces.

“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,” Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said.

Raytheon Australia managing director Michael Ward said the company was ready to draw on decades of expertise in delivering certified and integrated space systems, and continue to work with local industry to “unlock the full potential” of satellite data.

“We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with Optus and Thales Australia to provide a next-generation satellite technology solution, and we look forward to offering our global space surveillance and operation capabilities to the Australian government through this important partnership,” Ward said.

Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said the team would draw from its global network to access space technology from Europe and the US.

“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,” Jenkins said.

Bayer Rosmarin said, if successful, the team would contribute to local jobs growth and skills development.

“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,” the Optus CEO said.

“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.”

Team AUSSAT will be competing against a number of other contractors for JP 9102, including Airbus, Boeing Defence Australia, and Lockheed Martin Australia.

The JP 9102 tender is scheduled to close on 24 December.

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres

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