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Australian DoD selects Lockheed Martin as ‘preferred tenderer' for JP9102

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) selected Lockheed Martin as the ‘preferred tenderer' under Joint Project (JP) 9102 Phase 1 that seeks to build a military satellite communication (satcom) system for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Lockheed Martin will progress to the next stage of the procurement process, which includes engaging in “collaborative tender clarification and improvement activities”, the DoD said in a media release on 3 April.

The “multibillion dollar” JP9102 will deliver Australia's first sovereign-controlled satcom system over the “Indo-Pacific ocean regions”, the DoD said, quoting Air Vice-Marshal David Scheul, head of the ADF's Air Defence and Space Systems Division.

The DoD added that the new satcom system will include geostationary communications satellites controlled and operated by the DoD, multiple ground stations across Australia, an integrated satcom management system, and two new satcom operations centres.

“Currently across defence [DoD], there are up to 89 capabilities, which depend on satellite communications,” AVM Scheul said, adding that the new satcom system will increase the “resilience, agility, and flexibility of defence's military satellite capability”.

Lockheed Martin said it is focused on ensuring that the potential new satcom system is resilient against counter-space threats. The new satellites – to be developed under JP9102 – will be designed to withstand anti-satellite operations such as electronic warfare (jamming), direct-ascent missiles, and co-orbital anti-satellite operations, the company said.

“Ground segment infrastructure, likewise, must be capable of surviving against the full suite of threats, from cyber and electronic warfare to more traditional forms of strike and sabotage,” the company added.

Lockheed Martin said the new satcom system is expected to reduce Australia's dependence on commercial or foreign-controlled satcom systems that may be limited in bandwidth, unavailable, or not reconfigurable or interoperable in a manner that enables timely support to the most demanding ADF operations.

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