Northrop Grumman's ADF satellite tender consortium takes shape

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Northrop Grumman's ADF satellite tender consortium takes shape

Vocus brings fibre comms to the bid.

Northrop Grumman has added Vocus to the growing list of companies participating in its JP9102 consortium bidding for the Australian Defence Force’s satellite communication system (ADSS) tender.

The defence contractor now has six partners for the bid. A result is expected in the third quarter of this calendar year.

Vocus' fibre network is proposed to provide high capacity connectivity between satellite ground stations and terrestrial networks, operating in addition to the ADF’s Defence Terrestrial Communications Network.

“Vocus’ national, secure, and sovereign fibre network puts us in an ideal position to provide connectivity to the Northrop Grumman team’s offer for JP9102," Vocus CEO Kevin Russell said in a statement.

“Vocus has proven experience in delivering high-capacity, mission-critical connectivity to our commonwealth and defence industry partners with the most stringent security requirements, and we look forward to developing a solution for the Australian Defence Force’s satellite communication system project.”

Northrop Grumman’s other partners include Inmarsat, L3Harris, AECOM, Blacktree Technologies and EM Solutions.

AECOM will design satellite ground stations and operations centres, while L3Harris will manufacture Australian-designed wide multi-band terminals.

Blacktree Technologies would be responsible for the high mobility UHF ground segment, while EM Solutions provides certification services.

As well as integrating its high capacity, high mobility satellites, Northrop Grumman’s Canberra-based Parallax Labs, opened in December 2021, will handle software development and other functions. 

The ADSS consortium will be offering the ADF on-demand access to Inmarsat’s Ka-band Global Xpress satellites.

When operational, the ADSS will replace the ADF satellite network currently based on Optus' C1 satellites, which has been operational since 2003 and was recently extended to operate until 2034.

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