Aussie Military Taps ViaSat for UHF Network Control

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PARIS — ViaSat Inc. will supply the network control center for the Australian Defence Ministry’s UHF-band satellite communications system under a contract valued at 38 million Australian dollars ($39.2 million) that ViaSat announced July 19.

The contract follows the completion of in-orbit tests of the Australian UHF payload that is hosted on commercial satellite fleet operator Intelsat’s IS-22 satellite, which was launched in March. The Australian Defence Ministry announced July 10 that the satellite’s testing has been completed and the payload accepted by Australian defense forces.

Australia is using the IS-22 UHF payload under a $269 million contract with Intelsat that covers the Australian military’s share of the satellite’s development, launch and operations for a planned 15 years at its orbital slot of 72.1 degrees east.

Carlsbad, Calif.-based ViaSat will provide the control center permitting Australian and U.S. forces — the two nations have signed an agreement on the satellite’s use — to operate small, mobile terminals for their ground, sea and air forces in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. Afghanistan will be a special focus of the capacity, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare said in a joint statement July 10.

ViaSat said that under the contract it will design, build, install and test the network control system. ViaSat said the system will include the Integrated Waveform for the network’s terminals to maximize the amount of bandwidth available to users.

ViaSat Vice President Jerry Goodwin said in a statement that the company’s inclusion of the Integrated Waveform “is the significant reason we were chosen for this contract.”

The contract is ViaSat’s second major win in Australia in two weeks, following the $286 million contract to provide the ground infrastructure for Australia’s nationwide satellite broadband network.