Govt shells out $233m on new Defence satellite station

To provide comms and imagery for border patrol.

The Australian government intends to build a new satellite ground station to provide better communications and imagery capabilities for border and defence patrols in the Indian Ocean, South China Sea, and the Pacific.

The new $233 million satellite station will be located at the Kapooka ADF barracks in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, and will interact with a similar installation in Western Australia.

Northrop Grumman won the contract to build the station, with construction subcontracted to Hansen and Yuncken.

Defence minister Marise Payne and defence industry minister Christopher Pyne jointly announced the JP2008 Phase 5B2 satellite station, which was flagged in the government’s 2016 defence white paper.

The ministers said it would cut down operational response times for satellite communication services.

Before construction starts later this year, the satellite station has to be approved by the parliamentary works committee. If it passes that hurdle, it is expected to be complete in 2021.

Pyne last month announced the government would spend $500 million on enhanced satellite capability in support of defence, national security, and border protection activities.

A further $50 million will be spent developing unmanned platforms that can be trusted in war and conflict situations, and $101 million will go towards small reconaissance drones.

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