Australia has agreed to fund one of the satellites for the US’s Wideband Global Satellite Communications (WGS) constellation in return for access to the network.

Australia will fund one of the six satellites plus associated ground infrastructure at a cost of A$927m, Australian Minister of Defence Brendan Nelson says.

The WGS constellation will provide global coverage, operational flexibility and bandwidth.

Nelson says it will support multiple simultaneous high-tempo operations and provide a high level of redundancy.

“Access to the WGS constellation will build on the Australian Defence Force’s ability to conduct multiple and simultaneous military operations independently or as part of a coalition force,” Nelson says.

The first WGS satellite will be operational in early 2008, with the remainder expected to be fully functional by 2013.

By staff writer