JP 2008 Phase 4
Prime Contractor: Boeing via the US Government.
2010/2011 spend: $193 million
This phase of the project seeks to deliver high-priority components of the next generation satellite communication system supporting the ADF from 2008. The project will address the ADF’s wideband satellite communications requirements by partnering on the US Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) communication system program.
Interim anchoring provides early access to the first block of WGS through a mix of offshore anchoring using US facilities with backhaul to Australia and small capacity in-country anchoring for direct access to WGS satellites viewable from within Australia. The early realisation of space segment capability drives the ability to anchor the satellites and interface into the ADF networks. The FOC of the in-country anchoring capability will occur in late 2010.
The first satellite (WGS1), with a footprint over the Pacific Ocean, has been providing operational capability to Australia since June 2008. The second satellite (WGS2), with a footprint over the Indian Ocean, became operational in August 2009 and is being utilised by the ADF. WGS3, which is not viewable from Australia, was launched in December 2009 and following operational testing was accepted into service in April 2010.
The project is currently participating in the design and delivery of a satellite remote control capability in Australia which is critical to the placement of a satellite. The US remains on track for production of satellites four through six, which will occur in parallel during the coming financial years.
The highest risk for this project remains satellite launch failure. With the successful launch of WGS1 in October 2007, reinforced by the good track record of the launch vehicles being used (100 per cent success rate since 2002 over 20 launches), the likelihood remains low.
Risk management rigour is being applied by the US joint program office. Boeing (USA) and Australia’s access to an expanding capability through a constellation of six satellites reduces the impact of the risk. Australia has confirmed that third party liability insurance is in place for liability related to the launch of satellite six.