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ADF operationalises first space unit, re-postures Defence Space Command

An internal view of the Space Surveillance Telescope inside the dome at the Naval Communication Station Harold E Holt in Western Australia. On 1 July the ADF operationalised its first joint space unit, the No 1 Space Surveillance Unit, which will be responsible for operating the SST to enhance space domain awareness of the forces. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced on 3 July initiatives taken in accordance with the Defence Strategic Review (DSR) 2023 to improve space defence capabilities of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The DoD said the Defence Space Command was officially moved from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to the Joint Capabilities Group (JCG) on 1 July. On the same day, the ADF's first joint space unit also commenced its operations.

The Chief of Joint Capabilities, Lieutenant General John Frewen, said the DSR highlighted the need for greater coherence in space, cyber, and information warfare. The amalgamation of these elements into the JCG will improve capability development, management, and delivery of integrated effects, he added.

The DoD's JCG is responsible for progressing leading-edge capabilities, such as cyber, datalink, satellite communications, and managing joint projects. The JCG also provides various services to the ADF related to legal matters, logistics, education, and health.

The first joint space unit of the ADF – the No 1 Space Surveillance Unit (1SSU) – has also assumed operations, and will work to bolster space domain awareness (SDA) and provide missile warning to forces, the DoD said. 1SSU was established in January at RAAF Base Edinburgh, located north of Adelaide.

“1SSU has taken over the C-Band Radar and Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) as its key operational capabilities, with initial support from No 1 Remote Sensor Unit (1RSU),” the DoD said.

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