Northrop Grumman Australia has collaborated with ViaSat and Optus to provide a solution to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for its utilisation of the Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) system.

In response to the ADF’s tender request, the Northrop Grumman is offering Australia access to its Satellite Communications Operations and Planning Element (SCOPE) network management system.

Northrop Grumman Australia chief executive Ian Irving said: "Australia has invested approximately A$1bn in WGS communications capabilities. Northrop Grumman’s offering will give Australia the ability to fully utilise this capability at the same standard as the US military

"This programme will form the core of the ADF’s sovereign capability in network management."

Claimed to be the only managing, operating, and monitoring system to have successfully been integrated with the WGS, the SCOPE system is deemed critical to the successful operation of all six WGS satellites currently in orbit.

The system has been employed by the US Army Strategy Command for more than 15 years.

As part of the collaboration, the team is also offering the ViaSat dual-band satellite terminals, combined with Australian satellite operating experience of Optus.

"This programme will form the core of the ADF’s sovereign capability in network management."

ViaSat recently delivered ten complete ground stations for Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) programme.

The team’s comprehensive solution is expected to enable the ADF to take full advantage of its investment in the world-leading WGS network.

Manufactured by Boeing, the WGS satellites are designed to support missions such as to and from tactical communications between ground forces and the relaying of data and imagery from airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms.

The satellites can support simultaneous X and Ka-band communications, with crossbanding making it transparent for the soldier to communicate across terminal types.

Image: Optus Satellite, Northrop Grumman Australia and ViaSat Australia officials sign agreement to deliver next-generation satellite communications for the Australian Defence Force. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman.