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Australia Selects Northrop Grumman to Expand WGS Participation

By | July 19, 2017
      The eighth WGS satellite under construction at Boeing. Photo: Boeing.

      The eighth WGS satellite under construction at Boeing. Photo: Boeing.

      The Australian Defense Force (ADF) is expanding its global satellite investment with a $175 million contract to Northrop Grumman to provide network management capability for Australia’s participation in the Wideband Global Satellite Communications (WGS) system. Northrop Grumman will provide its Satellite Communications Operations and Planning Element (SCOPE) integration tools, alongside ViaSat’s dual-band satellite terminal and Australian telecommunications company Optus’ operating systems to fully realize Australia’s participation in the global satellite operation. The WGS is a global satellite partnership to provide secure communication systems between the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and New Zealand using space segment satellites.

      “Northrop Grumman’s SCOPE core capabilities are the foundation of this proven, operational system that manages and monitors satellite communications today,” Chief Executive of Northrop Grumman Australia Ian Irving said in a statement. “That experience forms the ADF sovereign capability, providing benefits to Australia while reducing program risk.”

      The contract, initially awarded in June, is part of the ADF’s multi-phase Joint Protect 2008 meant to increase the nation’s global satcom bandwidth capabilities. As part of Phase 5B2 of the project, Northrop Grumman will install a satellite ground station in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales to operate the ADF’s wideband satcom network management system and support satellite tools for deployed forces. This ground station will then be integrated as part of the WGS system’s group of secure military global communications satellites.

      Optus is currently the largest satellite provider for Australia and New Zealand and ViaSat recently finished installation of 10 new ground stations for Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) program.