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AU$500 million to improve Australia’s space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities

The Australian Government is going to invest AU$500 million to improve Defence’s access to commercial satellites to provide information to government agencies. This investment is expected to enhance Australia’s space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities and support Australian Defence Force (ADF) operations around the world.

Imagery from high-end commercial satellites, now in orbit, will be integrated directly into the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation’s imagery dissemination systems, reducing the time it will take for satellite imagery to get to a member of the ADF or the officers of Australia’s national security agencies.

The information will be used to support Australia’s defence priorities including defence operations, border protection and humanitarian missions.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne said that Defence Project 799 was introduced in the 2016 Defence White Paper to enhance Australia’s geospatial-intelligence capabilities.

Minister Pyne said these contracting arrangements will provide improved value for money for the Australian Government when accessing commercial imagery.

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP said, “The Turnbull Government is committed to maximising Australian Industry content, with this project forecasting over $144 million to be spent in Australia, creating jobs and generating economic growth. Australian industry will benefit with around $14 million spent locally to build the ground infrastructure to collect imagery from commercial satellites.”

A total of $130 million will be spent on support contracts over the 13 year life of the project providing commercial opportunities for Australian companies - including in the Northern Territory and South Australia. This investment will also create opportunities for Australian companies interested in satellite technology and imagery analysis.

Featured image© Commonwealth of Australia 2017CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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