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Australia Selects Lockheed Martin for Sovereign Defense Satcom Project JP9102

By Rachel Jewett | April 3, 2023

Rendering of a JP9102 satellite. Photo: Lockheed Martin

Australia has selected Lockheed Martin as the preferred bidder for the Australian Defence Satellite Communications System, known as JP9102, which will build the country a sovereign military satellite communications system. 

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) announced the award on April 3. Lockheed Martin Australia will move to the next stage of the procurement process. Lockheed Martin Australia is the Lockheed Martin subsidiary headquartered in Canberra.

JP9102 is a multi-billion project to build Australia’s first sovereign satcom system of the Indo-Pacific ocean regions. The project includes Geostationary Orbit (GEO) communication satellites, multiple ground stations across Australia, and a management system and two new operations centers. 

“Currently across Defence there [are] up to 89 capabilities which depend on satellite communications,” said ADF Air Vice-Marshal David Scheul, head of Air Defence and Space Systems Division. “Once delivered, the new system will increase the resilience, agility and flexibility of Defence’s military satellite capability.”

A team of Australian companies are also part of the project: Inovor Technologies, EM Solutions, AV-Comm, Linfox, Shoal Group, Ronson Gears, Calytrix Technologies, Conscia, Clearbox Systems, DXC and Blacktree Technology. 

Lockheed Martin has partnered with the government of the state of Victoria to make Victoria the engineering and technical hub for the project, saying the investment will create more than 200 200 advanced space industry jobs there. 

“This capability will provide the Australian Defence Force with robust connectivity and reliable information when and where they need it, and by extension, contribute further to the growth and development of Australia’s defense and space industries,” commented Warren McDonald, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand. 

Four teams bid on the project — teams led by Airbus, Boeing, and a team jointly led by Optus, Thales, and Raytheon.

Correction: A previous version of the story stated L3Harris and Inmarsat were part of Lockheed’s bid. This is incorrect, they were part of Northrop Grumman’s bid.