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Australia launches project to boost space electronic warfare capability

Australia space electronic warfare
Australian defense ministry file photo of Lunch-box sized satellites (Cubesats) for the Australian Buccaneer and Biarri space missions.

The Australian defense ministry has launched a new project that will explore options for the acquisition of a ground-based space electronic warfare (EW) capability.

Dubbed Project 9358, the endeavor is being launched several months after Australia announced its intention to establish a dedicated space force unit within the Royal Australian Air Force by early 2022. The new space division headquarters would be composed of personnel from all areas within the defense department.

One of the conclusions of Australia’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update was that assured access to the space domain was critical to warfighting effectiveness. This is why a space EW capability is now being established to allow the Australian Defence Force to detect and deter attempts to interfere with, or attack, Australia’s space assets.

The 2020 Force Structure Plan called for the development of options to enhance ADF space control through capabilities to counter emerging space threats to Australia’s free use of the space domain.

The defense ministry noted that space EW is a capability that does not create debris or damage the space environment.

“This capability would help assure Australia’s continued access to space-based communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,” the ministry said.

Following its evaluation, the defense ministry plans to provide recommendations for a decision by the government.