Lockheed Martin preferred bidder for Defence Satellite Communications System

The Commonwealth of Australia has announced that US-based aerospace technology giant Lockheed Martin is the preferred bidder for Project JP9102 – a multi-billion dollar Australian Defence Satellite Communications System implementation.

Project JP9102 will provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with a sovereign military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) system.

According to a statement from Lockheed Martin, its proposed solution, including the content for JP9102, will be built and delivered via Australian small and medium enterprise partners, with the company stressing it was “committed to knowledge-sharing and technology transfer”.

Lockheed Martin’s list of Australian companies includes Inovor Technologies, EM Solutions, AV-Comm, Linfox, Shoal Group, Calytrix Technologies, Conscia, Clearbox Systems, DXC and Blacktree Technology which will help to deliver ground and control segments.

The firm also announced it has partnered with the Victorian Government to establish Victoria as the engineering and technical hub for its solution – an investment which is expected to create more than 200 advanced space industry jobs in the state.

Warren McDonald, chief executive, Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand, said his company was “proud to be selected as the preferred bidder to deliver this critical capability to the ADF”.

“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 defence and space industries.

The defining features of Lockheed Martin Australia Space’s JP9102 solution will be its comprehensive resilience against an increasingly diverse and evolving portfolio of counter-space threats, recognising the new realities of space as a contested warfighting domain, the company said.

The firm explained that in space, this means designing a satellite constellation optimised to withstand anti-satellite operations, employing any combination of electronic warfare (jamming), direct-ascent missiles, and co-orbital anti-satellite operations. Ground segment infrastructure, likewise, must be capable of surviving a full suite of threats, from cyber and electronic warfare to more traditional forms of strike and sabotage.

Lockheed Martin’s JP9102 solution design is being guided by other principles too: sovereignty, agility, and flexibility, it said.

“Each of these reflects the risk of over-relying on commercial or overseas controlled satcom systems that may be limited in bandwidth, unavailable, or not re-configurable or interoperable in a manner that enables timely support to the most demanding ADF operations.”